Firehouse Gallery December Invitational

Success! Juried Art Show*


I’ve been basking in the glow of a recent success and mentioned wanting to talk about it in my last post (Sometimes I Do Not…Get Into Juried Art Shows).  I am honored to say that one of my paintings was accepted in to a major juried art show, the Northwest Watercolor Society’s 74th Annual International Open Exhibition.  Getting in to the Open Exhibition has been a goal of mine for the past 11 years.  Success is sweet.

I Can't Hear You


The problem is that I find it just as difficult to talk about success as failure.  I think an interesting way to talk about success and put it in to context might be to tell you a story.   I want to talk about my experience while serving as a recorder for an art show jury panel.


Jury Panel

This story takes place a few years ago in a small town.  Every year the local art group hosts a juried art show.  They put out a national call for artists and receive several hundred entries.  This particular year, they had a three person jury of selection panel.  Two of the members were experienced professional artists; one was a local business person with gallery experience and a degree in art history.  They were allowed to discuss the entries.  Each entry was projected from slides onto a screen.  They worked through the slides several rounds until they had completed their selection.  Less than half of the entries would be selected.


My role was to record their results.  I was there for administrative purpose and was not involved in the deliberations.  I did not have any of my own work being juried.


Surprising Result

I remember vividly one particular painting.  It was done by a regional Master Pastellist.  It was a loose, floral abstract.  I immediately recognized the artist and expected that this painting would automatically be selected.  But, all three members of the jury panel declined the work the first round.


Lesson Learned

I was impressed by the fact that one of the most experienced artists I know would be turned down.  I learned an important lesson that day about how juried art shows work:

  • The selection and award process is subjective.
  • The jurors do take their job seriously and put forward their best effort.
  • Since not everyone gets in, there will be good work declined.
  • Even experienced artists don’t always get in.
  • It’s an honor to be accepted.



Savor the success for a moment, then it is back to the drawing board I go!


PS.  Getting into juried shows is not the “end game”.  For me, its doing the work and connecting with others who see my art.

* I had previously published this post on this blog on March 19th before the site crashed.  I’m re-posting and updating for continuity purposes.  Thank you!

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