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What is 'jurying'?

Have you ever wondered what it means when an artist refers to being accepted into a juried show? In this post, I will discuss the jurying process.

For any of the large national shows, it is a safe bet that the show is juried. But even small local shows can be juried. A juried show means that the artist submits images of his/her work and a jury, or a pre-selected panel of experts in the field will view all of the submitted work. The panel could be artists who have achieved a high level of expertise, or it may be industry professionals such as gallery owners or museum directors. It is up to the jury to determine which pieces will be included in the show. This group is called the jury of selection. The sponsoring organization may have guidelines for the jury to consider in selecting the work. The show may have a specific theme, or perhaps it is based on a specific medium. In my case, most of the shows I enter are pastel shows. The jury may be looking to select, in their opinion, the best pastels submitted in terms of vision, technical expertise, creativity, etc.

"For Pastels Only 2017"

In the highly prestigious national shows, it is not uncommon to have over 1200 pieces of art submitted. The venue may have room to display only 180 paintings. In my mind, eliminating over 1000 paintings would be a daunting task. This also means that some very strong art may be declined strictly on the fact that there is not enough room at the venue. When an artist receives notice of acceptance in a show of this caliber, trust me, it is a big deal!

Once the selected art has been delivered to the venue, there is typically, a juror of awards. This may be one or more individuals, who usually did not serve on the jury of selection. The job of the juror of awards is to select which of the pieces in the show are worthy of the awards that are being offered. I have served as a juror of awards in several local art shows. Trust me, it is not easy! In addition to the usual, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards, there can be a variety of other awards with varying criteria determined by the sponsor of each award. In an exhibit of strong art, narrowing down which piece is best suited to each award can be a challenge.

Juried shows are commonplace in the world of being an artist. For every

‘acceptance’ we may receive, there can be any number of ‘your work has been declined’ notices. Those rejection notices can be disheartening. So, when you hear an artist has received an acceptance to an important juried show, you now have an understanding of the process of review that the piece went through. And to receive an award at a prestigious show? Well, that deserves the happy dance!

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