Art Fair Insiders

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

Wow! Just got the results from the Saint Louis Art Fair. In addition to the rejection notice I got you can see how the jury scored the show for all 4 rounds THEN you can compare the results with the images/submissions of the various artists! (they only use numbers to identify the applications) Very useful as an educational tool. It is also interesting to read the various artist statements to get a feel for how others introduce their work. I always struggle with that 100 or 200 word limit.

Some very good artists got rejected in round three so I don't feel so bad! Wish other shows were as forthcoming with this kind of information, it could only make shows better I think.

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Comment by Reid Watts on May 10, 2018 at 9:27pm

I found that going through the submissions and noting which ones were accepted was an informative exercise. About a third of the way through, I found that I could with great accuracy predict which submission was accepted or rejected simply by glancing at the thumbnails. Why was I able to do that? Because I discovered that the jurors were simply accepting and rejecting types or genres of art, rather than judging things like talent, beauty, technique, mastery of the medium, etc. Try the exercise yourself. I think you will find that after looking at few hundred you will discover the same predictable pattern as I did.

Here’s a thought: It would save everybody involved a lot of time and money if the jurors simply made clear ahead of time what types of art they are accepting and what types they are not. Why not do that?

One thing I have been wondering about is what makes a juror qualified to do their jurying duty. Is there any training involved? Testing? Certification? If not, why not?

As a comparison, the Antique Automobile Club of America has regular day-long Judging School to train their judges. They also publish Official Judging Guidelines that run to 124 pages, and are kept up-to-date. Furthermore, new judges are first required to apprentice with established judges, before being allowed to judge on their own. All of this for no pay. But they take their judging seriously. Are art show jurors similarly trained, apprenticed, and guided by official jurying guidelines? If not, why not? Is it a less important duty than being an antique automobile judge?

Comment by Barry Bernstein on May 10, 2018 at 5:13pm

I wouldn't take the judging too seriously. Next year, except for maybe the top 5%, there will be a whole different set of scores. This is the one industry where the best don't always get in. It's solely based on taste and opinion. Most judges maybe know one or two mediums. That's why I never will go to a jury open house. I don't want to find out that I was rejected based on a lack of knowledge as to what I do or degree of difficulty. Of course, when the shows let me in, the judges are knowledgeable and when they don't, they are ignorant. (That's a joke?.

Comment by Mark Zirinsky on May 8, 2018 at 9:35am

Yes, very insightful to see the results. I was fascinated to see both the quality of the entries, and how low my score was with this jury. In a show a few months ago, of similar caliber as St Louis,  the jury in full came by as a group to my booth and said how original my work was, and that they all voted me through every round. And now St Louis, where I barely scraped by into round 2. Oh well. the one thing I did understand by examining the jury results is that, indeed, it is their show, and their choice to pick what they want in their show. It is fascinating to see the results, and I commend SLAF for taking the time to do this, it is very much appreciated.

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