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.
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.
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.
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.
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!