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ArtiGras 2010 ZAPP Art Show Jury

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Sherry Wilson - Jeweler

I had the pleasure of attending the open jury for the 2010 ArtiGras Show. Boy, were my eyes opened. I had heard about it but seeing it helped me greatly to understand the process and I saw some unbelievably beautiful pieces of art. I create jewelry but nothing like what I saw. I knew from the first few slides, I would not be participating in the upcoming show but I also learned how I could level the playing field and possibly participate in 2011.
There were 159 jewelry applicants, the largest category in the show. They did not say how many jewelers would be accepted but ArtiGras tends to be balanced, so only the cream of the crop was going to be invited to attend.
There were five jury members. The room had 4 very large screens opposite the jury. The photos of entries were projected randomly as the judges settled in after a break. Nothing was said as they sat at their computers. Then the process began. Each set of photos was put up on the screen. All four submitted images submitted by the artist were shown at once with the booth shot the final image on the right. They were show in the order they were received. Each artists work was projected and removed. The next projected and removed. This first viewing was not more than probably five seconds long. All 159 entries were shown. The second showing was in the same order as the first but slightly slower as the ArtiGras committee members read the artists description. Mispronunciations were corrected but no other communication was given. The process took one hour and fifteen minutes to jury 159 artists.
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The photos of the submitted work had to jump off the screen and grab the jury. Believe me, many of them did. They had eye popping color, great directionality, and gripping beauty. I felt like I was watching a group of museum curators trying to choose what pieces they wanted to display in their museum. I walked away drained, as I'm sure the jury was, because of the intense situation. The first pieces shown were new and fresh but by the end of the session things began to blur. I do believe that those items that were seen first made a better impression. I still remember some of them.
Good photography also was a key. The subtle shading, perfect color and the clarity of the photos made an impression. This really showed me how important a good photographer is. The right photographer and the unique piece of jewelry working together create the knock out jury photo. And that is what is needed. It must be clean, crisp, perfectly focused and color balanced. Close enough to see every detail in less than ten seconds with no flaws allowed.
It was an amazing process and my hat is off to ArtiGras and the Fort Myers show as both had open juries. Fort Myers went one step further and broadcast the process live streaming video, so those who could not be in attendance could still watch. I hope this is a trend in our industry because there was as much transparency as possible and the jury process had the veil of secrecy removed. The artists now can understand the process and what is required to make the top shows.

Sherry Wilson - Jeweler

originally posted on the Art Fair Insiders Forum

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