The Juried Path


My success with juried shows in 2011 is now a distant memory. I know that “show business” is a crap shoot and am not taking it personally. I recently took a printing workshop where there was a lot of chatter about what was show worthy art. The cherry on the juried show sundae was an email from the director of a venue defending the juror for choosing 75 works from 500 submissions most of which were several works from each artist chosen. So 75 works represented about half that many artists from hundreds who submitted work. All of this has led me to ponder the path of the juried show. Here are some of my thoughts/questions;

  • Why enter a juried show? For me some of the answers are venue, location, prestige, audience.
  • A juried show is really about the juror’s vision; taking the works submitted and finding the statement that he or she can make with them.
  • Some shows seem to be all about enterprise: the artists pay to submit works, the public pays admission, the show gets a commission if the work is sold. How do artists reconcile their role in this business? How do we avoid these types of shows if we wish to?

The conclusion I have come up with is this. As artists there are lots of things trying to take us away from focusing on our art. If the possibility of a show is worth the attention and work (because it is a bit of work to ready a submission) I plan to keep trying. On the other hand, if I get into a mode where I am solely looking for that recognition I need to re-focus my attention to my art. And I never want to be the whiny artists who complained to the director about what was chosen. You put your art into the world not because you need the acceptance but because you needed to create.


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