What makes art “fine?” Simply put, it is art deemed to be of high quality. And because there is so much excellent art created by many talented, creative artists in our part of the world, the Sidney Fine Art Show has always received a wealth of entries. Well over 1,000 in fact, which is just too many to include in the final display at the Mary Winspear Centre. There’s room in Bodine Hall for only about 400 pieces.
It’s a tough job to choose what will be in the Show, so the organizers invite three professionals from the art world to take on the task of adjudicating all the art. Jurors are selected based on renown, accreditation, curatorial experience, art medium and previous jurying engagements. They are confirmed at least one year in advance. This year the Jurors are Mike Svob, Ken Faulks and Cindy Gibson, all with exceptional qualifications.
Adjudication is “live and in colour” for the Sidney Fine Art Show. That means all the art pieces entered must be brought to the venue for the Jurors to view. No digital image submissions are accepted. Adjudication takes place over three days in September, one month before the Show, and requires over 100 volunteers to make it happen. All the artwork, clearly identified by assigned numbers, comes in on the first day and is placed in numerical order throughout the auditorium. For the purposes of jurying, artwork is identified only by number, not by artist’s name.
The Jurors arrive once all the artwork is in. This allows them to have their first glimpse of the hundreds of pieces awaiting to be juried; it’s definitely overwhelming to see so much art assembled in one place! Everyone takes a deep breath and gets a good night’s sleep before Adjudication begins in earnest the following day.
Each Juror works individually with an assistant to note the scores, and a team of volunteers present each piece of the 1,000+ pieces of art for viewing. Scoring is rated on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest score for excellence. Jurors do not consult with each other or compare notes during this process. It’s a demanding task but, by the end of the day, every piece has received a score from all three jurors.
Scores for each piece are compiled for a composite total. The highest total possible is 15, receiving a score of five from each of the three Jurors. Pieces that score a composite of 10 and higher are generally included in the Show, depending on display space. The Jurors reconvene on the third day to work in consultation if there is a wide variance in some scoring, and more pieces can be selected for the Show. At this time, the Jurors confer on the winning pieces in each prize category.
Adjudication is a fair process but, as with all art, there’s always an element that’s subjective.
Come and see the results at the Sidney Fine Art Show, October 12 to 14 at Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre.
Visit www.sidneyfineartshow.ca for more information about this year’s Jurors. Pictured: Juror Michelle Jacques and Scribe Jo-Anne Bilodeau.