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Tips from Robert Stadnycki
Cherry Creek 2007 ZAPP Juror

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Robert Stadnycki and Terry Adams of the Cherry Creek Arts Festival
Robert Stadnycki and Terry Adams

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Robert Stadnycki was one of the five people chosen to jury the 2007 Cherry Creek Arts Festival. He brings the most interesting perspective to the table as he is an exhibiting artist and the director of the Harrisburg Arts Festival. As someone who knows Robert personally from doing shows with him and having done his Harrisburg show numerous times, I feel that his ethics and sense of fairness are above reproach.

Cherry Creek got approximately 2,400 applications, which translated into 12,000 images which the jurors had to evaluate over three days.

Two of the jurors were award winners from last year, one was a curator from a contemporary museum and the fifth was an art critic. Between myself and the other two artists, we knew what an art show was supposed to look like. For example, why some artists set up a certain kind of non standard booth. The booth helps with scale and dimension. Impact factor if itís a WOW booth. Or; ďOh my GodĒ, the work is so great but they just have things stacked on a table. Also, the booth had to have the current style of work. That was how we used the booth slide.

It was probably the best art experience Iíve ever had, being able to appreciate such great art and knowing personally how hard artists work to create it and the phenomenal quality of the show. It was so thrilling to know that there was an organization out there that has such high integrity, does everything right, thinks about every single detail for artists by artists. It was exciting.

The best thing to do is create great art. Then get a good photographer to photograph it correctly. The main problem with artists who did not get in was the inconsistency of their work, the quality of their images and the matching of their booth image to the work. As long as the work had great flow, it had credibility because it was obvious that the artist was thinking about a theme and the body of work matched. It was obvious that the work wasnít from different years or different photographers. The main thing that stood out was the consistency in the quality of the images and the background color.

The biggest problem causing someone to get bumped, because the competition was so tough, was if there was a mismatch of backgrounds we couldnít figure out if it were old work, new work, not important work, or more important work. So truly have a full body of work that matches because the jurors only have a few seconds to judge whether something is apparently good on the screens.

During the projection of the images, the committee continuously stressed that we look up at the screens to evaluate the work, not at the computers. Each picture was projected huge, approximately five feet square and the five images across filled a 25 foot wide wall. If there were any questions, we could stop and enlarge the image to evaluate detail, which we actually did a great deal to answer questions about the work right away. The committee controlled the equipment expertly so if one image was in question, we didnít have to see all five enlarged. I was not a ZAPP lover before this but now I now think itís an incredible way to view jury images.

Strive for excellence. When you apply to that level of show with as much competition as there was here, you need to do the best you possibly can. As with any other jury, most artists assume that there is some favoritism in who gets picked. There was not one moment the whole entire time did I ever feel that any one artist, even if they had won an award last year, had more credibility or scored more points in the jury. It was truly based on the images being viewed. There was no influence from the committee on what might have been a favorite artist or a really great booth. It was all on the merit of the slides. Sometimes the artists take it personally; like that juror doesnít love me. Or that show didnít like me and they rejected me. There are shows Iíve personally applied to for maybe 20 years and never have gotten in but one day I will and itíll be worth it. So I tell people, though I know the jury fees are high, if you give up and have an attitude, itíll affect your whole body of work and the way you make your art. Itís a complicated process and so competitive with ZAPP getting more applications. But though times are getting tough, you still need to do as good as you can.

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