To be a juror for an art show is something pretty special.
Jurors get to look at such a wide variety of artworks and select the ones that will appear in the show. They consider such things as the theme of the show, originality, the merit of workmanship and presentation. They consider the artist statement, the title and the bio. They stretch their imaginations and look beyond what is presented in the microcosm of artwork itself, beyond, in to the actual entire show presentation. How would a certain group of artworks look with each other?
There may be artworks that are of very high quality but would not fit with the majority of the other artworks that will be presented. Sometimes jurors prefer to see an artists work over and over again before they will accept them in to a show – almost like a test to see what the artists’ commitment is like.
Jurors are usually from a range of backgrounds. For my juries, whether for the Erotic Art Show or the Arts Awards, I try to select people with a wide variety of backgrounds, experienced artists themselves or even supporters or people who just interested in how the process goes. They may be educated in Fine Art, or they may be self-taught. Gut reactions are important in selecting art, as is education, sure, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, there is no formula to the jury selection. I also try to vary the jury members so that it is not the same people over and over again. By doing this, a greater number of the public become involved and they learn exactly what it is to be a juror, and how difficult it is. I also try to mix up experienced jurors with newbies. Both learn from the other as concepts of the artworks are discussed.
Jurors are honest in their evaluation of artworks. They are not in the business of being politically correct, but they are also not trying to be mean. An artist does not learn from wishy washy comments, but they do learn from honest gut reactions to the work. The best thing an artist can do with jury comments is to look at how these comments are received by them (the artist). Were they insulted? Were they pleased? Were the jurors on track and tell the artist what they expected to hear, or was it really out in left field? I believe the honesty is good for the artist even though it can come as a shock or is unexpected. It is better when it is unexpected don’t you think? Especially when it is a completely new viewpoint that provides a new way in to their work. How precious a gift that is!
And artists know this. Artists are brave creatures to submit work to a jury. Regardless if they are young artists or older artists, in age or experience, there is always a quiver of “what if…” It’s an exciting time, the thrill of the hunt, of the catch. Artists always hope to be selected, some even fear it. But all artists who submit hope for the best. And they know the jury will do their best to choose the works that will make a cohesive rounded exciting show.