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There are general rules with a subset of specific rules. The most recent invitation was from a local Arts Council in conjunction with Montclair Art Museum and an art gallery. The theme of artwork submitted had to be based on one of the five stages of grief.

Artwork had to be done within the last 3 years, a common requirement. There were no other limitations, which is rare. Typically, there's a size limit; 2D work must be framed behind glass or plexiglass, ready to hang. 3D work must be on a stand and enclosed. Registration cost was $20, which is cheap, and no commission taken, also rare.

During March and April, I made 3 pieces with help from both sons then sent photos from 4 angles with titles and brief descriptions. They did not ask for a biography nor artist statement although usually this is requested. I dislike writing them.

The mixed media assemblages expressed 1) grief while my husband was still alive but his brain was dying, 2) the sudden grief when he died unexpectedly, 3) the aftermath. None were accepted. I received and acknowledged the most polite rejection ever, also my first via email.

It was almost comic in a dark way when I checked the selected work. I should make clear I don't think about peoples' sexual orientation unless it's pertinent to understanding them so I missed that the gallery owners and the judge were not only lesbians but feminists.

The winners: a lesbian grieving the loss of family when she came out, a lesbian grieving the loss of her first gay lover who is still alive but not with her, and a lesbian single mother dealing with a dying 7 year old daughter. We all love, lose, grieve, no one really wins.


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