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Quite a few artists posted about their Krasl jury scores on some of the Facebook art show forums. I even received two phone calls from artists asking me to check to see if something was wrong with their images.

So many artists posted about receiving one or even two of the lowest possible score of a "1" out of "7" that it makes me wonder if the people doing the jurying knows what that means, or what instructions were given by the director.

Years ago I was interviewing a show director about how their jurying worked. I was told that any scores of 1 were required to be justified by the jurors. The reason for that was because a score of 1 meant that the artist was so unqualified that they shouldn't even be applying to a juried show, probably knowing nothing of the medium they were applying in.

Larry Berman

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Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on March 6, 2018 at 11:15am

SO far we've identified that two shows have given these disparities in scores. Two is hardly a "huge" problem in the scope of things. It's certainly a problem for these two shows to address and overcome. I know Reid speculated that this kind of scoring is the norm and then that proof will be given by shows not defending their own judging system. And to think no one else on here has produced evidence that ALL shows have polarities in judging, or that there's even a third one with this kind of problem. I bet there is a third one, but again that's a minor infraction since there are hundreds to thousands of shows each year.

Comment by Robert Wallis on March 6, 2018 at 12:59pm

Keep in mind that my own scores included a 5-1-2-5-1 so I'm not saying rah-rah because I got in, for I certainly didn't. What I did see from being at the jurying was a uniformly high quality of entries. The number of jewelers entering was mind-numbing and most of them looked very good. Photography didn't have as many entries, but it was still a large number and I only saw three or four that would be considered run-of-the-mill and maybe only one that was substandard.

I have to feel that the scoring is done like using a bell curve in grading an advanced class of students. That sort of thing says there will be a distribution of grades that include all ranges and the lower end of excellent work, compared to everyone else in the class, has to be marked as average or below average compared to the rest of the class. The difference here though is the variance between jurors. If the low scoring jurors are consistent in their application of extremely high standards, then it applies to every one and it all comes out in the wash. But if they're only applying this higher level of discrimination selectively to what floats their boat, then it's an unfair system or rather an unfair juror.

Some idea of what the past jurors looked for can be figured out by looking at past year's catalogs. Last year the photography category did not seemingly go for the Grand Color Landscape and looked at different visions instead. To be blunt, 80% of the photography entries looked the same and if the slides were mixed up it would be hard to sort them out.

Another issue is that applicants are placed in alphabetical order within categories. That places someone like myself at the risk of juror fatigue. That sort of thing needs to be randomized or give higher weight to order of entry; first entered, first judged.

Comment by Larry Berman on March 6, 2018 at 1:07pm

Alphabetical order is just one way a show can choose to have the jurors see the image order. I think the other options are by application ID number or random or by date submitted. Application ID number means that the number is assigned when the application is started. Some artists start their application on the first day and wait until the day or week the application closes to complete and submit it. Then their images come up at the beginning of the jury session.

Columbus uses alphabetical order but uses date submitted for the wait list if there are tie scores.

Larry Berman

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on March 6, 2018 at 2:52pm

I think you have to look at this from the other direction, too. A judge who scored the highest marks might be too nice, or maybe unable to be critical. And I think another reason Krasl has such a disparity in scores is that judges were picked from very different disciplines.

Robert might be able to look at this more objectively than most since he was there and saw the judging. That's great that he was there. His comments are most credible to me about this whole thing. He could clearly see that 80 percent of the photography looked the same. That doesn't mean that some of it shouldn't have been picked, but it certainly makes it more difficult to pick.

Comment by Reid Watts on March 6, 2018 at 5:19pm

This is an interesting discussion. It made me wonder why jurors behave the way that they do. So created a hypothetical scenario to help understand it:

Our hypothetical juror is an artist knows his medium well, but he is very focused on what he does, and not comfortable judging other media. He is thrilled to be chosen to be on a jury, wants to carry out his duties as directed, but also wants to be as fair as possible to his fellow artists. In the instructions from the director, the director stresses that the jurors should use the booth shot to judge “the overall professionalism of the applicant”. He is also instructed to vote on every applicant, and to not use “4” (neutral). Taking all of this to heart, when judging media other than his own, our juror doesn’t attempt to judge the art (which he is uncomfortable doing fairly), but instead focuses almost entirely on the booth shot, which he feels comfortable judging for professionalism, etc. But since he knows that he is not really judging the art, he restricts his votes to 3’s and 5’s, so as to not unduly influence the score. If he likes the booth, and thinks it should be in the show, he votes “5”. If he does not, he votes “3”. When his own medium is up for judging, he puts his experience and knowledge to work and carefully studies the artwork. Based on his careful evaluation, he feels quite comfortable judging who is really good and who is not. To make sure that his informed votes carry more weight than those of his not-so-informed fellow jurors, he votes only “1” or “7”. When he is done, he congratulates himself for using a judging approach that in his mind fairly used his competence and knowledge.

It is hard to argue against the fairness of his reasoning and approach. The only problem arises when the show releases the score, and the artists take the 1’s he voted as meaning “incompetent”.

Comment by Mark Zirinsky on March 7, 2018 at 1:27am

I attended cherry creek's trial jury last fall. It was very educational for me.

By far my largest impression was how careful, objective and articulate the jurors were in response to the work that they viewed. I will go so far as to say that they reacted to the work they saw, even if it was not in their medium of choice.

I think most of us, as artists, can critique and have educated opinions about work even though we do not work in that medium. I myself draw influences from perhaps 25 or more different subject areas, over a lifetime of study, and I assume that most of us do the same thing. 

I am highly impressed by the fact that Krasl took the time to respond to this forum. That seems to be the mark of a true professional, a person who will do their best, even when they may be uncomfortable.  

So, I can infer that this level of professionalism extends to how they run their show, select their jurors, and, I am certain, will agonize over how to make next year better, addressing the valid points raised here.

Perhaps I am ignorant, but before this discussion, I never really had an opinion about this show. I think i will apply next year.

Comment by Larry Berman on March 7, 2018 at 3:26am

If you're talking about their mock jury, they spend too much time (approximately 1-2 minutes) analyzing the images. But that's a good thing for the attending artists to learn and be able to tweak their images. But an actual jury at Cherry Creek is closer to 10 seconds and most of what was talked about at the mock jury is not seen in that short a time. Just so you understand.

I've attended the first round of the Cherry Creek actual jury and it we timed it at about 10 seconds without reading the artist statement. They have 2,500 sets of images to go through with about a 50% elimination so they are looking for a reason to disqualify you based on images alone.

That's what artists should think every time they apply to a show. The images stand alone as the only thing allowing you in or keeping you out. They need to speak for you.

Larry Berman

Comment by Mark Zirinsky on March 7, 2018 at 9:32am

Point well taken Larry, I had not thought of that. You have about 10 seconds.

Curiously, when customers are walking by my booth at a show, you have about the same amount of time to capture their initial interest. Varies a bit by how bust the show is.

Comment by Barbara Pitorak Bloom on March 7, 2018 at 12:36pm
I’m going to stick my neck out here and tell you what I learned of Krasl form several applications to their annual art fair. It’s political, It’s rare that new blood is accepted, and honestly if you don’t personally know the committee or have some connection just don’t apply.
There seems to be a segment of art fairs that are basically closed to new people, but they love to collect those jury fees from unknowing artists. And that is one more layer of the onion.
Comment by Kelly Meska on March 7, 2018 at 6:07pm

I had the same thing. Last I got in to Krasl this year I got a 1 and a 5. So sad. It was my best show ever!


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