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"The Independent Artist"
Issue VII, Spring 2010

The Independent Artist

Cherry Creek 2010: Jury Review

by Larry Berman

The Process
There were 2251 applications for 230 spaces. Round one is silent voting on a scale of one through seven and approximately 50% are eliminated at the end of the round.

Its not widely publicized but round one is open for artists to attend. Space is limited so its recommend to let them know in advance that youll be there. Also look for the St Louis Art Fair to open round one to observers starting next year if Cindy Lerick gets permission from her board.


Round Two
From a conversation with Terry Adams, For round two we take away their monitors. We then change the psychology so that theyre voting to keep work in the show. What theyll be asked to do, after we preview the category again so they see what has advanced to the next round, is I ask for votes to keep this work in the show. It requires three of the five jurors to vote for the work. Thats where it creates interaction and discussion. If only two jurors have their hands up, its up to them to convince another juror to support the work to advance that artist to the next round. The interaction between the jurors in trying to convince their colleagues to join them digs deeper into the detail of the work. Thats the part of the jury I enjoy because it goes back and forth and you hear the expertise. With thirteen categories, no one juror is going to be an expert in every category. Theyve been selected because theyve got a variety of expertise.


Choosing Jurors
We ask our artists in our show survey to recommed names so we have an ongoing list of potential candidates. Were also out there networking. I have the opportunity to be at a number of other juries and meet jurors from the other shows. We talk to other show directors and weve recommended one of the jurors on this panel to other shows. Its our interaction with other show directors recommending names, and we staying in touch with each other on that. Its important to find a balance. Weve got three art world professionals. We choose from museum curators, gallery owners and professors. And then two of the five are peer artists selected from our previous years award winners who are jury exempt so theres no conflict of interest because theyre already Spring 2010
in the show. Theyre the reality jurors. Theyre out on the street and understand it. Im amazed at how smart these jurors are. Theyre making very quick decisions that hold up. Id venture to say that with the amount of applicants we get for the show, we could probably select two shows of equal quality if we had to.


Colorado Artists
Our board has been adamant that we dont want to create any quotas that will affect the quality of the show.


My Observations
I arrived while the jurors were at lunch and had time to see the projection and jurying set up before the afternoon session started. They are using the new system of MAC Minis connected to the projectors instead of the Rokus.

Since I missed the morning session, I was only able to observe a few of the thirteen categories, which included jewelry, painting, sculpture, metal and emerging artists. They ran a three second slide show followed by approximately a six second viewing while the jurors scored. I asked about the timing and was told that it was ten taps of the foot but we timed it from the back of the room and it was close to six seconds. Artist statements were not read for round one so the scoring was based entirely on the strength of the jury images.

The jurors were scoring on what appeared to be 19 inch LCD monitors which, besides the projected images, were the only light in the room. Only the number one (far left) image of each artist was visible to the jurors on the page where the scores were entered. That insured the jurors would look up to see the work before entering their scores, unlike previous juries where it was reported that some jurors were judging the work from the row of 100 pixel thumbnails on their laptops. When I consulted with ZAPP the next day, I recommended that ZAPP change the scoring page background color from white to light gray to make it easier for the jurors eyes to adjust from looking at the bright white screen where the scores are entered and then looking up at the projected artwork images. In a similar way it was very difficult to see the detail in jewelry that was photographed on white because white in a dark room can be blinding. And if your jewelry was photographed properly and followed jewelry photographed on white, it took a few seconds for the jurors eyes to adjust from the previous set of image, which in the case of Cherry Creek, could be up to half of the six seconds. Ive been warning artists about white backgrounds on 3D objects ever since Ive been working on jury images. Its not as bad for monitor jurying because the jurors can take the time to let their eyes adjust. But most of the high end shows use projectors and thats where it can be critical, especially for a show like Cherry Creek that gets so many applications that they are constantly
trying to keep the process moving rapidly

The new looser image format that ZAPP allows has put artists images at a disadvantage for projection jurying (see the example image comparison below). Within the categories I observed, I saw a few inconstancies of sizes of the projected images and a few artists that had entire sets of images appear smaller than their competition. Ive said before that ZAPP is doing artists a disservice allowing them to upload 1400 pixel images into their ZAPP profiles because its setting them up for possible failure if applying to the shows that use projectors, which most of the best shows do. The worst part of this potential fiasco is that you dont see the projection size difference when choosing images to apply with and then seeing them in the template at the bottom of your application page, lined up as the jury will see them.

For the past several years Larry Berman and Chris Maher have been partners in a web design business where they specialize in creating image intensive web sites for photographers and artists. They share a byline by currently writing for eDigitalPhoto and Shutterbug Magazines. Their web site www. BermanGraphics.com, is a resource for photography, digital imaging and the art show industry that theyre both so familiar with.

Photos, top to bottom:

1 - Director Terry Adams answers a jurors question.

2 - They were using two sets of MAC minis. One connected to
the monitors to record the jurors scores and the other connected to the projectors.

3 - MAC Mini replaced the Roku to send images to the projector

4 - The seventh inning stretch.

5 - A ZAPP image comparison
left - 1920 pixel image
squared with 1920 black
borders.
right - 1400 pixel image
squared with 1920 black
borders.














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