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A Better System of Judging for Awards - Guiding Street Judges

A Better System of Judging for Awards

The Atlanta/Maitland Scoring & Judging System

by Les Slesnick


Views: 2433

Comment by Ynon Mabat on December 16, 2011 at 12:44pm

I can be witness that this works!

Good job Les! As a matter of fact, EXCELLENT!

Comment by Alison Thomas on December 17, 2011 at 6:11am

One thing you need to add Les. give us our scores when it is over.

Comment by Carole Fleischman on December 17, 2011 at 11:20am

What a great concept; uniformity in the judging process.  I commend you.

Comment by Connie Mettler on December 17, 2011 at 4:03pm

In 2011 Lisa Konikow was one of the judges for the Maitland show and I was a judge for the Krasl Art Fair in St. Joe. When it came time for us to put together the jury for Arts, Beats & Eats and give the street jurors direction we both had so many new good ideas. Here are changes that we made: 

1. We sent the jurors off in different directions so they were not all traveling together and each was seeing different work when they were "fresh"

2.  We asked them each to speak to each artist and identify themselves. They did this and for the first time we had NO complaints that the judge had not seen their work. Each one walked into the booth and introduced themselves. This is an important concept.

3.  We told them to time themselves, approximately 2 minutes in each booth. What is important about this is it insures that all artists get an equal shot at the judges attention AND it means that the judges are all on the same time line. They finished at least two hours ahead of usual (could it have been the 95 degree temps?)

4. The results were the prizes were spread throughout the show, no complaints from artists (nearly), and it felt more fair. 

Thanks Les, for all this good info, and to Sara Shambarger at Krasl, who devised a lot of the same ideas for her show and taught them to me.

Comment by Trudi Van Dyke on December 17, 2011 at 4:58pm

So many good things in this system;

I have been jurying for many years and have seen some really good organizations at work. The most important thing in my opinion is to have the judges asst. with the clip board and stop watch and keeping everyone on a schedule. I do wish shows would consider how many booths can be seen in a day.ede  If there are too many booths it just can't be done without jogging between and skkipping lunch.; I have done shows where judges only judged a portion of the show.. a painter judged that category,  a photographer judged photog. ec.,

I do prefer judging a full body of work and not just an individual piece and much prefer those types of shows.; especially when some artists have only one WOW piece front and center to attract the judge's eye; inexperienced judges often fall for that. 

one comment though where this isn't always the best system. I think when a show picks it jurors so that they each have a specialty then discussing the work can be valuable and make things fairer. For example, I have seen many jurors with limited three D experience confused by jewelry; a juror needs to turn over the artist's work to see the finish technique on the back; and recognize skill; another example is when awarding in ceramics you need to pick up the piece.. for a functional teapot actually properly balanced to pour or just pretty? Jurors must open wood boxes and look at joinery; slide their fingers over finished edges, etc., and know what they are looking for.  

Maybe I'm fussy but I specialize in fine craft exhibitions and if I didn't have a chance to educate some of those I juried with in discussions about the work then it might have caused some complaints when scores were tallied. I always learn new things from fellow jurors in different media specialties. 

another example; in fiber art; wearables in particular; knowing how and where to examine a garment is not always known by inexperienced jurors with little fiber education. This is often a buy-sell area that is not recognized.

and of course a juror with an agenda can easily skew raw scores; this would be horribly dishonest but since the juror would not have to interact with the other juror(s) to justify scores it would happen more frequently. You have no business as a judge if you cannot articulate why you gave a particular score-and judges shouldn't get to hide behind their scores.

Well, I've prattled on long enough; I have judged in Maitland..and they are a great group.. I'd love to get an invite to Atlanta some time.

Comment by Alison Thomas on December 18, 2011 at 8:29am

"You have no business as a judge if you cannot articulate why you gave a particular score-and judges shouldn't get to hide behind their scores."


Comment by Susan Parry on December 18, 2011 at 9:38am

One of my pet peeves is that some judges know nothing about the medium they are critiquing. (I've read bios about some of the "judges" most artists or former artists who work or have worked with clay, concrete, wood, etc. ) Unless someone has  worked with that person's medium (mine being glass) I don't know how one can judge another person's skills or know the challenges involved in creating what the judge is looking at. Too many judges dart in and out as if they're going to miss their plane. I've won some awards the past two years and it's always happened when a judge took a few moments to let me explain how I made what I made and then I get an "oh wow" something the speed by jurors don't do. I also wish all judges would dart a comment down when judging a booth so the artist can learn from the experience.

Comment by B. David Kay on September 7, 2013 at 9:31pm

I have to agree about judges and not knowing all the mediums.   The problem one runs into is that you can have a judge for each medium class.  What you need is judges that can see!!   Today for example, we are doing a small art show and there are about 3 photographers at the show.  I am the only one doing black and white exclusively.   Anyways, three judges came by in the morning and each stopped at every booth.  The winner of the first place in photography was the artist who had the most out of focus photos.   His booth was very unprofessional looking.    Now how can judges give a first place award to someone with out of focus photos is just beyond me.  It makes one believe more in the politics of awarding prizes.  

Just had to get that out.   Thanks for listening.  


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