“Unfortunately…” the OTHER Letter

Chances are if you put yourself “out there” in the world, you most likely have gotten one of those letters that begin… Thank you for …, unfortunately…. 

Fall Out, 2011
Acrylic, graphite, collage on paper
There it is, the bomb. Your heart sinks, you may try to brush it off, say it was a long shot, I didn’t really want it, whatever. One such letter arrived in my mail box earlier this week. I applied for an award. I worked hard on it. Gave it my best shot. But I didn’t make the cut for the next level. 
But I do know that whether you are entering shows, applying for a grant, going on auditions, applying for college, jobs, etc. – disappointment comes with the territory.  Frequently. (unless you are my niece Katie who got into every school- undergrad and grad to which she applied. You go girl!) And let’s face it, -While it’s not nearly as fun (or rewarding) as the other letter that begins- “Congratulations, or We are pleased/excited to inform you…” Showing up, putting yourself out there, takes courage, energy, and time.
So, while disappointed, I am really ok with it. (Well heck, what is the alternative?!) The truth, however, is that working on the application was an incredibly empowering experience. I dug deep, discovered some intrinsic truths about what I do and why I do it. Better than therapy, didn’t cost me a thing… and as Arnold once said…”I’ll be back…!”
What is your experience with the “Unfortunately…” letter?  How do you bounce back?


  1. Judy Weinberg
    July 27, 2012

    So true and so well said! Sorry you didn’t get this one. I kind of turned my view around and it actually made me “go for it” more. I often see beautiful affordable artwork, I have money in my pocket but it just isn’t the right fit right now and so I don’t buy it. It occurred to me that when I submit artwork the juror may be going through the same thought process about my submission. My work isn’t necessarily and “less” than those accepted – it just isn’t what they were looking for at that moment in time. But if I don’t apply at all I have no chance of ever being accepted. I also agree that the self reviewing process necessary for submission helps gain more insight into one’s work. Get em next time!

  2. Nanci Hersh
    July 27, 2012

    Judy- I love what you said how it made you want to go for it more. “You can only win it, if you’re in it.” And you are right as I have been on panels or jury before. Sometimes there are specific criteria that needs to be met and othertimes the work may just not be the right fit. Thanks for commenting and giving your insight into the process. Would love to see what art has made it home with you…how about a post for my Artist as Collector series?

  3. Denise Bellon West
    August 9, 2012

    Hey, you gave it your best shot, Nanci. You get a great big gold star from me for actually DOING IT! Very impressive. In my book, you’re a rock star!!! As Maria says in The Sound of Music, “When one door closes, another door opens.” It will be a good one.


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