Hang It Up

Juror Survey – Part Four

With Jean Emmons, Guest Author 

Originally appeared in The Botanical Artist – Volume 15, Issue 3


Twenty former and current ASBA jurors were asked a series of questions about how and why they choose the work they choose for ASBA exhibitions. Their responses have been compiled into a series of “Hang It Up!” columns. In the fourth and final article of the series, the jurors were asked: 

What’s the Hardest Part of the Jurying Process? 

  • Having to eliminate work, which you know has taken hours of hard, hard work and is so nearly there. 
  • You need to be very fair and impartial. The ASBA membership is growing and classes are offered throughout the country. As a result, there are more good artists and many entries for each exhibit.. this makes the jurying process difficult but also fascinating! 
  • It cannot be over emphasized that the quality of the digital images or slides submitted is of utmost importance. There were works by great artists not accepted because the slides were not clear. For me, that was the hardest part - knowing the work was great, but other jurors were not able to see it. 
  • It’s hard if you recognize the work and have to give it a low score. Human nature enters in and you feel badly that someone you know will be sad. But you are there to do a job, select the best work and make the best exhibition – and you must maintain objectivity. 
  • This is a serious business and one wants to give it the most fair-minded thought possible. 
  • It is hard to select from so many good pieces. And when you get to the choice for final pieces the jurors have to be so critical on issues that may be from a very personal perspective. 
  • Jurors may have a different point of view for the same piece. They have to evaluate together. 
  • The hardest part...selecting say 40 from 200. 
  • The hardest part of jurying is to judge from digital images and not the original art. Digital presentation is superior to slides but no technical progress can replace the original piece. The last time I judged we used the point system which I really liked but I think it has limitations. It seems as if it is a perfect way to weed out what you don’t want, it goes much faster which is more and more important as more and more slides are entered. It is not such a great way to pick what you do want - otherwise you might get a show full of gourds and pumpkins! 
  • Hardest part - giving up on an artwork that I really think is great because the rest of the team doesn’t like it as much. 
  • There is so much outstanding work today that honing the selections down to a specific number of pieces becomes quite a challenge. Now, with the use of the computer, being able to see the paintings in a larger format is a great help. But as always, the quality of the photograph of the work is of utmost importance in my being able to judge a work. 
  • The hardest part of jurying is not being able to include all the pieces the jury admired. The quality of the work seems to ascend to a higher level with each ASBA international exhibition. There are many very good pieces that have to be rejected solely on the basis of our space requirements. I hope all entering artists know that when their work is not accepted there is a very good chance that it has been admired by the jurors who have had to make the very hard decision of how to fill the exhibition space for a particular show. Knowing that there is a disappointed artist out there is very hard.