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Friday, February 1

inside the jury room

A friend worked for an arts organization that hosts a respected show every year. She got to sit in on the jurying so I asked her about it. I know they are all different, but this is how it goes in this one.

These jurors are artists from different, pottery, fiber, etc. They come in early and have breakfast together. They bond. Then they go into.. (drum roll) ...The Room. The slides have been put into a powerpoint presentation and the artists are identified only by number and medium. All the images, including the booth, are shown at once. I've often heard that most jurors only get 10 seconds during this phase, but she said in this place, they tell the person running the presentation when to go on to the next. They score the artists on a scale of 1-10. This takes all morning. They turn their ballots into the promoter and they are done.

Some interesting things: Sometimes they discuss a person's work during or after the presentation. A glass artist might find a piece of pottery awful until the clay artist explains what it is they are looking at and this might change the score. Some juries silently mark their ballots while others enter into discussions about what they are seeing. Every year is different.

Now the organizers have the apps with scores on them and they have to make their choices. They start with the top scores in an amount that equals the number of spaces. Let's say 100. If the top 50 are all jewelers and pottery, they have to make choices. You want a show with nice diversity. So they start to make their show using the top scores, but sometimes a person could score 99 and not get in.

To me, it would make more sense to decide beforehand how many of certain over-represented media you will accept and if you decide to have 20 jewelers you take the top 20 scores and move on. This could be why I am not an organizer.

So, the lucky ones get letters that start "congratulations", the ones that came close get letters that start "there were sooo many wonderful artists applying this year..." and they get put on the dreaded waiting list. The unluckies get letters that start "thank you for applying...but"

Imagine trying to make a living this way. Makes me want to run screaming into the night sometimes.

No jury would convict me.

1 comment:

Michael said...

"This could be why I am not an organizer."

Yeah. Stop making sense, willya?