Applying to art shows is hard and weird work. It is the essentially the goal of an artist to be shown, so that their art can gain exposure, audience, appreciation, critique, general feedback, recognition, and many other important benefits. In order for all of these things to take place, the artist (you!) may feel uncomfortable. Of course, this happens in many scenarios when a person has to grow, but this scenario can be hard to swallow. You will likely have to leave your art, or even ship your art to, perfect (but well qualified) strangers and there is no guarantee that you will make a sale, and when you do make a sale, it is very rare that all of the proceeds go directly to you. There is the possibility that you may have to explain your work in a statement, verbal or written, which can be intimidating and difficult. I am no expert in showing my work, having only participated in a few public exhibitions, but each show did open new opportunities and helped me think about my art in different, and larger, perspectives. Also, being totally honest, while the shows I have been a part of have not provided a lot of financial support for my art career, the people I meet and the connections I make at each show is valuable and have created other chances that weren’t possible otherwise. So, yes, it is scary to apply to art shows and trust strangers with your artworks, and yes, you might not make any money for your expenses (and also, yes, if you do make money, you’ll probably have to split it) but hey, you might make a few new friends, kid. Life is a risk and art is definitely a risk but I think it’s worth it to watch someone fall in love with your art.