As you may recall, I posted earlier that I would be the juror for the Eye of the Beholder XXVI competition at the Lafayette Art Association. I made my selections for the awards (note: you’ll have to wait until the reception to know the results- my lips are sealed) and upon writing my juror’s statement, I thought it might be helpful to those that enter or even attend such events to know what it is like from the other side. First, I am an artist- I am usually the one submitting my work for judgement, be it a juried exhibition, an exhibition proposal to a gallery, or a portfolio review. I’ve always had some semblance of what it must be like for a juror to sort through hundreds of entries, having to make tough calls, and break hearts. Given the fact that I am an artist and know firsthand what it is like to be on the receiving end, I know how significant my choices are to the artists involved. In some ways I think it may be harder for artists to serve as jurors simply because we know what it is like to subject ourselves to these critiques. Some of the artists were complete beginners up against established artists. Nevertheless, I remained as objective as possible and looked at each piece as an individual. It was not easy given there were many strong works. There were even significant works that did not receive an award.
After I made my selections, I felt good about the variety of work, in which my eclectic taste came in handy for once. I would have loved to give everyone an award for their efforts and to acknowledge the merits of their work but at the same time, I wouldn’t want to diminish the awards for those pieces I felt were particularly strong. It is a tough call, and I can say from experience that there are many factors involved in judging a show, some of which are completely out of the artist’s hands and are nothing against the work itself. Sometimes the only difference between an award-winner and a non-award winning piece is an emotional response. That doesn’t mean the work isn’t any good- it’s my response, therefore it will be different from person to person.
In the end, I hope that the artists know that they have all contributed to make a great exhibit. I also hope that they continue to challenge themselves as well as aim for more exhibits and competitions. And the take-away here is just because a piece isn’t selected doesn’t mean it should be taken out of rotation. If it’s a work that you are fond of, keep submitting it for other opportunities.
If you would like to see the results and show your support for the artists, please attend the awards reception on August 19th from 4:30-6pm at the Lafayette Art Association on 1008 E. St. Mary Blvd.
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