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This is my first year to apply for art fairs. I am curious why I never receive panel results. How can I ever know what I'm doing wrong if I never find out what they are saying about my artwork or my photos?

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Hi Karole,

Very few shows provide feedback. The Saint Louis Art fair, Art in the High Desert, and Broad Ripple come to mind as three that try to provide feedback. The problem is twofold. One there's no incentive for the shows to give us feedback. It's time consuming and artists tend to not take negative criticism well. And the system the shows are using isn't set up to provide feedback.

There are a few things you can do. Go out of your way to attend an open jury so you can see your images projected, or at least see your competitor's images projected so you know what you're up against.

And then there's a few things I do to help artists when they want to up their game and improve their jury images. I do free jury image evaluations, including booth images. And I try and attend at least one open jury each year and write about it. My web site is a resource for artists applying to art shows.

Larry Berman

Are you referring to Juror results (not panel)? If so, getting feedback is not going to happen with most shows. This is not an art class where your work gets critiqued and you can go on to your next assignment. It is a juried competition.

Some shows are more competitive than others and competition equates to the number of applications and the quality of the artists submitted. For many of the competitive shows, the number of applications can reach 800 to 1000+. It would be cost prohibitive and impractical for a panel of 4-5 jurors to critique each application and write comments. Some shows, though a minority, do provide scores and miscellaneous comments.  To be honest, I personally don't find this helpful. The process is very subjective.

Let's use an actual example from this year, though we will call the show, Show B. Show B received 539 applications ( a mid-sized show). They brought in a panel of jurors on site that  began at 9AM and finish around 3:30PM. Excluding breaks and a 1 hour lunch, they had approximately 5 hours (or 300 minutes) to review and score all applications. That is less than 1 minute per application. This is the reality.

You will need to get your critique from other artists in your personal network.

Okay. That helps a lot. Thank you. I just wasn't sure if I was missing something or if I just needed to wait for them to come later.
Yes I meant jurors results. And the reason I asked is because one of the shows told me that I had a 49 And a 58 was qualifying. I just didn't even understand where they were getting those numbers from and thought maybe there was something that I wasn't aware of

Those numbers are not helpful without giving you a context. Shows that use Zapplication, score on a number of different scales. (e.g. 1-7 point scale; 1-5 point scale; Yes, Maybe, No scale). I would ask the show to clarify.

Karole, the other variable here is that jurors change every year. I have applied to a show one year an got a respectable score only to find that the next year I bombed, even though I know the work I was submitting was stronger than the year before. It's a crap shoot.

Here are a few examples of the type of feedback that's been given to the artists in the past. Saint Louis has a mock jury in January each year and they try to give feedback to the artists who submit images so they can modify their images and presentation before the March deadline. Two years ago, I was one of the mock jurors for the process.

Comments from the 2015 Saint Louis mock jury:

The feedback has provided some interesting analysis. Here's an article I wrote about the statistics of attending the 2014 mock jury and how many artists actually got into the show after attending.

The 2013 Saint Louis mock jury video of the projected images with jurors comments by medium category:

Larry Berman


Your comments on the 2015 mock jury on your blog weren't true. We did send the images with  the comments. I would appreciate if you check your facts before you published your comments.


Hi Cindy,

I've changed my information. I guess the person who sent me the PDF didn't send me the images.

Larry Berman

Thank you.

In the past several years I have only received one response that included juror's marks and comments. Unfortunately, those comments really upset me.  Maybe it is better not to know, but how can you adjust what you submit or writeup to get past any negativity if you don't know what is it that they are looking for.  The Tennessee Craft Organization just sent me a "not accepted" note with juror's comments.  Those comments stated "they wanted to see less assemblage and more technique.  Well, some of these pictures I submitted were Kumihimo Jewelry. Much of the kumihimo I do is with natural stones.  I have to drill out almost every bead before I can thread them and braid them.  Kumihimo, if done with some creativity, takes a lot of work, super technique, and a lot of creative input so you don't end up with some routine piece.  My natural stone Kumihimo has perked the interest of a lot of people, including one person who actually created one of the Kumihimo disks in this country.  How does one respond to this?  Another piece I submitted included a pendant that was created with shell, pearl, & charms set into a bezel with resin.  Doesn't this rate something?  Technique? Assemblage?  You can't buy these piecesso you can just add a clasp!  I have been to this show, and have seen many jewelry pieces there that one could assumed were just assembled!  I have no clue how to beat this.  It is really discouraging!

If the jurors don't know about Kumihimo or other important techniques, make sure that in the few words you have for an artist's statement that you tell this story. Work hard on that statement and make every word count. The best juries read aloud these statements when the work is being looked at by the jurors. Just like the rest of us, some of us are visual learners and others are literal. Me, I'm a serious word person, and listen. I've never heard of Kumihimo, so if I was on the jury I'd be listening and looking closer at the images, and subsequently probably being impressed and giving you a higher score. 

I actually try to explain about Kumihimo in my write up. Like everyone else, I do receive rejection notices. This one particularly upset me. I, wrongly, assume that the jurors are qualified and have a sense of level of difficulty, etc, when reviewing artist's work. The entire system is flawed!


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