If you are applying to a gallery show out of town, chances are you will need to ship your work to them.
Shipping artwork has it's own set of challenges. There are several facors you'll need to take into account. Most major carriers have pretty good info on their websites. Do a little research online so you can be a bit more prepared.
First there's the cost - shipping can be really expensive: weight = $, additionally oversize often costs more. Check out the online rate charts and see what size limitations may apply. Keep in mind that your packing materials will add to both the final weight and final size of your items.
Think about insurance - some carriers won't insure "Art". You may choose to go without freight insurance, but then you'll need to decide whether you can tolerate not being compensated if your work is lost or damaged in transit. If you need to insure your work, make sure that the shipping company will actually pay damages on the type of work you are sending.
Learn how to package your work properly. Most carriers have guidelines for how things should be packed. I used to receive pieces for a craft gallery and believe me I've seen some pretty funky stuff in regards to improperly packed artwork. Here's the deal - if you pack it improperly and it is damaged in transit, it's your problem - not the shipping company's - regardless of whether it's insured or not. Make sure you follow the carrier's requirements for shipping regarding packing materials, double-boxing, etc.
Think about the fragility of the items you wish to send. Some pieces are extremely fragile and may be more subject to damage in transit, no matter how carefully you pack them.
Also, keep in mind that in the event that your piece does not sell at the show, it will have to be shipped back to you. You will probably have to foot the bill for the return shipping costs. Check with the venue regarding their policies for return shipments.
Some venues do not have storage space for packing materials - this may cause issues. If they are willing to store and re-use your packing, make sure it is sturdy enough for a return trip. It's also not a bad idea to mark your name on it somewhere so your artwork actually has a chance of being returned in your packaging. You may also have to provide a preprinted and/or prepaid return label.
Make sure repacking your artwork for return is a fairly straight forward job. If it is difficult to repack, the gallery staff may have trouble with it and you may not be happy with the results.
Thinking about shipping before applying to a show may save you from scrambling at the last minute to properly pack your work or being surprised by an exhorbitant freight charge when you go to ship it.
More About Applying to Art Shows
How Will it Hang?
Don't Split Your Personality
Give Us Your Best Shot(s)
Get the Right Fit
Do a Background Check
Next: Oops! You're Insured Right?