Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Art Show Directors -- How we instruct the jury

You are voting on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being “good heavens, no, absolutely not” and 7 being your highest vote for “wow, I wish I could create work like that.”  (Please see below for some guidelines on scoring.) The average score needed to call applicants to the Object Jury will be 5 or higher.   PLEASE DO NOT USE THE NUMBER 4!!!    If you give anything a score of 4, I will hunt you down and make you change it.  Don’t make me.


Please keep in mind the objective of this group as you view these images and prepare for the object jury in November at Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair. The Standards Committee searches for new exhibiting members whose body of work, whether one of a kind or production, traditional or contemporary, shows excellence and creativity in concept, design and technique.  

  • Design – is the work creative in concept and/or composed well (i.e. marriage of materials, color, form, line)?
  • Craftsmanship – is the work well-crafted and does it meet an acceptable standard? 
  • Artistic Expression – does the body of work suggest a cohesive statement? 
  • Originality – is the work unlike anyone else’s that you know of?


Again, thank you for your time and energy.  I look forward to following your scoring and comments.


Scoring guidelines:

Remember, you are scoring on a scale of 1 to 7.  It’s not a simple up or down vote.  Allow for shades of gray.  Use your 1 and 7 votes fairly.  One way to look at it: use 1 (low score) or 7 (high score) only if the work makes you gasp, either in horror or with pleasure.


Another way to look at it:  (credit to one of our exhibiting members for coming up with these descriptions several years ago)


1 point--These objects should not be seen in public unless your 6 year old made them.
2 points--Maybe these objects would be at home in a street fair.
3 points--Good ideas poorly executed, or lousy ideas well executed.
4 points-- HA!!!! GOTCHA!! There is no 4.  Get off the fence.  Either you’re for it or against it.

5 points—Promising work that is probably worthwhile, but can only be scored completely if seen first-hand
6 points-- Good ideas and strong execution, unique interesting work.
7 points—I am overcome with a mix of pleasure, covetousness and envy.  Damn, I wish I could say I had done that.

Deb Britton, Piedmont Craftsmen Fair and Membership Services,


I hope some other shows will chime in. Please post your responses in the comments below. 

Views: 1077

Comment by Deb Britton on March 8, 2018 at 3:36pm

I will also add that we have a 13 person standards committee, which helps reduce the possibility of one low vote sinking an application. The committee is made up of 11 exhibiting members from across our range of media, plus one knowledgeable collector and one art/craft professional (e.g administrator, professor, curator) for balance. The committee turns over completely each year, and people are not asked back for at least 4 years.  

Comment by Wendy Merkle on March 9, 2018 at 12:01pm

I always wondered why they said NO FOURS.  :)

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on March 9, 2018 at 12:35pm

I'm certainly in favor of a rating scale like this. This rating scale sets parameters from which to start the judging process. If I were a juror, I'd appreciate the guidance.  If, as has been mentioned elsewhere, the applications are first separated according to which are following all the rules of the show, and then this type of rating scale were used, then there would also be some feedback available to the artists that could be meaningful.  I want FEEDBACK that will tell me what to do differently.  So far, when an art fair says they are glad to give feedback it usually means, "There are so many applicants in your media, the judging was stiff."  Even if the jurors could say that it was the booth shot versus the art that influenced their judging, it would be so helpful for the artists.

Comment by Britt Hallowell on March 9, 2018 at 12:37pm

This is the best scoring description I've ever seen!!  If all shows did that!!

Comment by Deb Britton on March 9, 2018 at 8:56pm
Kathleen, if we get applications that don't meet our guidelines for accepted media or buy/sell (which are very clearly spelled out), I contact the artists and let them know I will be pulling their application and refunding their fee. I also make sure that artists names do not appear in the application so that it's a "blind" process.
Comment by Peggy Crago on March 10, 2018 at 11:24am

Thank you for having the integrity to refund the fee. I'm impressed.

Comment by Connie Mettler on March 10, 2018 at 11:49am

This is from an email from Kathleen Hughes of the La Quinta Arts Festival:

La Quinta Arts Festival’s 2018 Jury Process consisted of four to five Jury Members depending on category utilizing a combination of Art Professionals and Peer Artists, who independently scored your media. Each of the Jury Members is extremely knowledgeable in your media and is selected to jury only one category of art. For example in the media of Jewelry the two professionals were a professor from Gem Institute of America and a buyer for Tiffany’s. The three peer artists are previous award winners or Artist Advisors and are evaluating your booth display, overall quality of work and to create a balance of jewelry styles in the show. Lastly it is most important to ensure the jewelry is not buy/sell.  One of the benefits of jurying online is that the juror is able to review their scores and can spend up to three days evaluating the category of art they have been assigned. It is based on scores from 1 (being low) to 7 (being high). Jury members are changed each year as we realize judging is subjective.


Hope this is what you were seeking!

Kathleen Hughes
Events Manager

Comment by Connie Mettler on March 10, 2018 at 11:59am

From Maureen Riley of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original

Click here are the jury directions: How%20the%20Jury%20Works%20--AA.pdf

And here is her commentary on their jury process:

In addition, I give instructions to the jurors before they start, reiterating the above and adding more detail.  We encourage jurors to use the full range of scores…including 1’s and 7’s, as we need the full breadth of scoring in order to not end up with too many people scoring the same. We discourage the use of 4’s.


On occasion we will have a juror who will score everyone low and won’t give anyone’s work a 7.  We also see jurors who score high and would never give someone a 1.  That is why we average the scores of the 5 jurors and assign a single score to the application.  One person’s score can’t outweigh the majority. 


As you can see above, our jury process allows for a discussion round and because we can see everyone’s scores in real time on the administration computer, we call out applications where there is a wide range of scores.  We ask the jurors to discuss the application, i.e, why did some of you score it high, why some low.  As a result of this discussion, a juror may change their score (either up or down!) or it may stay the same….with widely different opinions about the work.  Additionally, sometimes a “1” can simply mean that the juror doesn’t think the work belongs in our show.


I hope this is helpful.



Maureen Riley
Executive Director

Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on March 10, 2018 at 12:46pm

Thanks very much to the art fair directors who are taking the time to explain how they direct their juries.  To me sitting beside my computer waiting for the results to be posted, it seems as if the application disappears into a black void, who knows what goes on! :)

Comment by Alli Farkas on March 10, 2018 at 5:31pm

 I and a couple or three others "jury" a very small art/craft show in Michigan every summer. We have a strict set of rules pertaining to the art and craft allowed in, and that's about the extent of what we "jury". We don't jury creativity. We don't jury skill or "goodness" or conformity. We look at the criteria in our rules--no buy/sell, must be original work created by the artist, the artist must be present in their booth for the entire day, the booth must have at least a neat look to it and be able to withstand the vagaries of Midwest weather. If we get a lot of participants in the same discipline--ceramics or jewelry, for instance--that's fine. It makes for a great marketplace for folks who may come looking for that very thing. We don't discriminate at all by choice of media.

As a result, our exhibitors are self-jurying. If they do well at the event, they apply again next year and we welcome them. If they don't, they take themselves out. 

I guess to sum it up, I would have to say that the organization to which I belong and which sponsors our show is not trying to portray itself as exclusive or prestigious or anything but local artists appealing to a local market with hand-made art. These conditions allow us to maintain a smaller show without the need to worry about jurying out excess participants. If we ever get to the point where our show is a huge operation we would probably have to rethink this. Which would be unfortunate.


You need to be a member of Art Fair Insiders to add comments!

Join Art Fair Insiders

Want to sell more online? Advertise with Reach over 60,000 fiber arts lovers.

Top 10 Reviewers on for January and February

Join the MasterMinds Group for personalized coaching on your Internet Lifestyle Business! 

60 Page Report - Best US Art Fairs

Click Here to
Learn More

© 2018   Created by Connie Mettler.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service