Richard Aerni on tue 9 apr 02
2002 Cherry Creek Arts Festival - The Booth Slide
Don't want to beat a dead horse, but I came across this article in the =
latest issue of the NAIA newsletter (National Association of Independent =
Artists), and thought it might interest the group, given the recent =
discussion on the subject.
In an effort to create dialogue and feedback often missing from a show's =
jury process, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival is pleased that artist and =
2002 juror, Margaret Dyer, has allowed us to post her comments. These =
constructive comments are intended to assist artists as you apply to =
other shows including the Cherry Creek Arts Festival.
My reason for writing this article is not to embarrass anybody, should =
you find yourself described here, but rather to help you increase your =
chances of gaining entrance to those highly coveted top shows.
As one of the award winners of the 2001 Cherry Creek Art Festival, I =
recently had the honor of being selected to be one of five jurors to =
help jury the 2002 Cherry Creek Art Festival. Our objective: put =
together a balanced show of original, excellent work with diverse =
styles, techniques, and pricing. Our task was both challenging and =
daunting: whittle 2,088 applicants down to 185 in three days. So for =
three days, eight hours a day, we five jurors sat in a dark room in =
front of five projection screens as each artist tried to sell himself or =
herself to us. I was overwhelmed by the multitude of competent artists =
vying for a place in the show. How was I to choose one painter, one =
printmaker, and one jeweler over another, or over 20 others for that =
matter, all of equal talent and skill? More often than not, for me, the =
booth slide was the deciding factor. It turns out it was the same for =
the other jurors.
If I've come away from this experience with anything, it's a new =
awareness of the role the booth slide plays. The purpose of the booth =
slide, I have learned, is not simply to show the jury the structure in =
which you will be displaying your work. Its purpose is to show the jury =
you are able to bring to the show an entire body of work consistent with =
the four sample slides you provided. I was saddened for those hundreds =
of artists who came so close to getting into the show, who may have even =
momentarily been in the show, until a juror reconsidered the booth =
slide. The booth slide exposed an inconsistency. While the four art =
slides may have shown strong and compelling work, the booth showed an =
entirely different body of work. The juror was faced with a dilemma: do =
I allow this artist into the show based on these strong samples, only to =
find her exhibiting something entirely different at the show? How can I =
choose this artist above another who proves his consistency and =
professional presentation? When eliminating 1900 applicants is the =
objective, the juror has very little else to help him make that =
Remember: it is the jurors' responsibility to create the look of the =
show. When they choose a particular artist because of his art slides, =
that is the look the jurors will expect to see at the show. When the =
booth slide suggests that is not actually what the show will be getting, =
the juror will think twice about the artist. To illustrate what we were =
dealing with, some of the work which the jurors liked but were deterred =
from selecting because of booth inconsistencies included:
=B7 The jurors liked several architectural sculptors. The booth =
slides however, contained mostly little trinkets, or large wall pieces, =
inconsistent with the sculpture.
=B7 Stylized ceramic sculptural vessels were represented by a =
booth containing coffee cups and functional pottery.
=B7 One artist's four images dealt with an emotionally charged =
issue, which immediately roused the jurors to unanimously vote the =
artist in. But when reconsidering the content of the artist's booth, the =
artist was eliminated. All the art in the booth depicted something more =
decorative, less confrontational. The jurors felt manipulated.
There were other distracting things in the booth slides that may not =
have caused the elimination of the artist, but detracted from the =
artist's presentation, and may have somewhat lessened the artist's =
chances. Here are some suggestions to improve your slide:
=B7 Do not photograph yourself in your booth. Photos of the =
artist in his or her environment are meant for self-promotion, not blind =
jurying. Jurors do not want to be prejudiced by knowing anything about =
the artist. They only look for excellence of work and its presentation.
=B7 Do not exhibit your award ribbons in the booth slide. While =
I'm sure no artist was eliminated because of this, it was disconcerting =
to some of the jurors.
=B7 Do try to make the booth look as much like a gallery =
presentation as possible - clean and simple, not overloaded with =
=B7 Do frame your work consistently. Consistency in framing =
looked more professional than an array of different frame types.
Finally, should you be accepted into a high-end show, be sure to bring =
work of comparable quality and style as the slides you submitted. You =
could find yourself in a very embarrassing situation if the show =
committee confronts you for using one body of work to gain entrance to =
the show, and another body of work to sell.=20
It is my hope that those of you who are frustrated in your attempts to =
get into the top shows will reconsider your booth slide, and try again =
with a new presentation. If you find success with this new strategy, =
please let me know.
KLeSueur@AOL.COM on wed 10 apr 02
Thank you Richard. I feel vindicated.