Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Juried Exhibitions: The Organizational Perspective (1 of 3)

If you are entering a juried exhibition, do you ever grumble a bit at the seemingly random requirements? Label your CD this way, title your images this way, fill out the original entry form with a black pen, mail a self-addressed stamped envelope, deliver to gallery between 6 and 8 am, etc.

Anticipating your grumblings (although I’m sure not about OVAC shows, ha), I wanted to write a bit about the practical and philosophical reasoning behind some of these rules. Usually, juried show rules have their basis in some administrative need or effort toward fairness. I can only speak to the process of OVAC exhibitions, but imagine many organizers have similar reasoning.

Assumption #1: Allow artists to enter the exhibition
Philosophical: OVAC has open call format exhibitions, allowing the broadest possible submissions. Other exhibition types we do not offer include thematic, invitational, and nomination-based. This means we are offering exhibitions that give anyone who fits basic eligibility requirements a chance to submit. Artists do not have to be already known by the curator.

Practical: This means we could receive 5 or 500 entries to any given show. We have to set rules that allow artist to submit on a fair basis, like common deadlines and eligibility. We put digital submissions into a standard format. We copy images to one disc so the curator can view all artwork as a slide show. We put artist statements, resumes, and proposals into alphabetized notebooks so the curator can flip through the entries. Especially when mailing the entries to an out-of-state curator, we have to make the curator’s review easy. All our curators are busy professionals with tight schedules, so we want them to be able to spend as much time as possible looking at the artists’ entries (not shuffling papers).

The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition will offer the workshop “
Jury Duty: Entering Juried Shows & Competitions”on Thursday, December 10, 2009, 5:30-7:30pm at the Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville.

Caption: notebooks of Art 365 proposals for curator's review

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