Juried Exhibitions Feed

Never say, "Gosh ...I could have gotten into that." Guidance to Improve Juried Opportunities

Page-under-construction-orangeround36As mentioned on the previous post, I am reconstructing an entirely new website. As a result I am reminded of all the useful content in the Professional Guidelines and in the ASK Harriete archives that may improve your success when submitting your work to a juried exhibition, show, book or magazine.

Even the smallest adjustment to your submission may make the difference between success and less than optimal outcomes. I've seem this over and over. Recently I was asked to select the award winning work for a juried exhibition. The $500 first price was a very generous award to stimulate entries. There were great 2nd and 3rd place awards as well, but the reality was that there not as many submissions as expected. What a missed opportunity for many, and a optimal opportunity for others!  

Never say, "Gosh ...I could have gotten into that." Try for every competition that fits your work using this information to improve your chances for success.


Juried Opportunities from the Professional Guidelines


CuratorMETROPOLITANWhat Is the Difference Between Curated and Juried?




Jenny-Fillius-well-doneCONTINUITY and CONSISTENCY, Photos Should Demonstrate Clear Focus






Zapplication: Behind the scenes by Craig Nutt



Opportunity vs. Vanity Scams




Photo Comparisons and Descriptions - Now Optimize Your Submission

Put lady luck on your side with a well planned entry.


This post was updated on December 13th, 2021.

What Is the Difference Between Curated and Juried?

I frequently hear the terms "curated" and "juried" mixed up or misused, used interchangeably for the other when the terms are distinctly different.

Do you know, "What's the Difference between 'curated' and 'juried'?"

Yes, both curators and jurors select work, but there is a BIG difference.

A curated exhibition means the "curator" is responsible for selecting the theme, conceptual focus, title, AND work.
The curator has significant, if not authoritative input from start to finish, from selecting the theme, finding artwork that supports the curator's interpretation of the theme, along with input into the exhibition installation and catalog. 

Curator at the METROPOLITAN Museum of Art
Curator James David Draper
Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of
Art Department of European Sculpture
and Decorative Arts looking at an angel
sculpture attributed to Michelangelo.
Photo from NY Daily News

A well-curated show is a finely tuned cohesive selection of work to support the premise of the curator. The act of selecting the work reveals the curator's creativity and intellectual process. A well-curated exhibition is a masterpiece. This is why great curators are so highly regarded.

A curated exhibition may or may not extend a "call for entries." Usually, each curator considers him or herself as expertly informed about the artwork they want to include in an exhibition. Research on the curated theme is part of the curator's process. On the other hand, occasionally a curator may extend a call for submissions to explore or find images of new work that may be as yet unknown.


In contrast, a juried show always has a call for entries. 

The exhibition sponsor chooses the theme of the exhibition, extends a call for submissions, and invites jurors to select only from submissions what they feel best represents the theme or premise of the show.

A juried exhibition has one or more jurors select the work (and the exhibition sponsor seldom participates in the selection of work).

BalancedsJURYUsually, the jurors do not see the names of the artists. Since the selection of work is limited to the work submitted for juried review, the outcome is unpredictable and may not support the theme in a cohesive manner.

Sure, the jurors can select anything from the pool of work submitted, but the jurors can not invite artists to submit specific works. If they have a preconceived idea about the theme, and work is not submitted to support a particular train of thought, there is nothing a juror can do. This relative lack of control over the selection of work can produce an unpredictable or inconsistent show or a delightful surprise.

After the work is selected by the juror(s), usually the juror's role is finished.

In summary
A curator is often responsible for an entire show from beginning to end, including, but not limited to, selecting the theme, artwork, writing wall text, labels for the work, catalog essay and perhaps working with staff or exhibition designers on the installation.

In comparison, jurors are only responsible for selecting work.

Understand the difference between curated and juried on your resume and in professional situations.


This post was updated on February 11, 2022.

CONTINUITY and CONSISTENCY, Photos Should Demonstrate Clear Focus

In response to a recent series of posts about juried situations, Jenny Fillius left a very important comment worth repeating.

Jenny Fillius WELL done
Well Done © 2010
Recycled tin
Artist: Jenny Fillius
10.25" x 11.75"

She said, "I've been a juror. If the piece was well crafted, appealing, and unusual, it was a slam dunk. The important part for me was seeing 3 works by the same artist with continuity.

Did the pieces relate well to each other?  Was there a particular style to the work of the artist? A few times artists sent photographs of 3 very different pieces in an attempt to showcase their abilities -- and it fell flat. They appeared to be all over the map and it was confusing. Be consistent in what you are presenting as your work, and as Harriete states, make sure your photographs are stellar."


Jenny Fillius Kick in the Rear
   Shakespeare, Kick in the Pants© 2011
   Recycled tin
   Artist: Jenny Fillius
   15" x 10"

Great point from Jenny Fillius. It is very important for a jury submission to look like a cohesive body of work.

Jurors want to feel confident when selecting an artist.  Yet they can only see the photos submitted.  So the submitted images must show a signature style and a focus for the work. Attempts to "showcase your abilities" with widely varying work or media are more likely to "confuse" the juror rather than impress them. 


Jenny Fillius No Life Guard.
No Life Guard on Duty  © 2011
Recycled tin
Artist: Jenny Fillius
18.25" x 9.25"

Your images should read like a sentence conveying a clear sense of focus. Although the work or views are different in each image, there should be a clear and unmistakable thread running through them. A juried submission is not the time to demonstrate your virtuosity with a variety of techniques or media.

Experienced jurors generally feel that submitted images should reinforce a particular identity, style, and strength, not a “hodgepodge,” lacking a unifying voice. The jurors want to see maturity and consistency in a solidly organized presentation. This is true for juried exhibitions and craft show applications.

This principle extends to every opportunity from a juried application, to display at a craft show booth or exhibition for creating a positive impression. 



Today is National Reuse Day.
Help Make October 20th "National Reuse Day"!  by signing the petition.
Help make every day a reuse day by recycling, reusing, renewing, or repurposing the abundance.

This post was updated on February 11, 2022.

Zapplication: Behind the scenes by Craig Nutt

When I wrote the posts on ASK Harriete about CaFE, Craig Nutt woodworker, exhibiting artist, and Director of Programs at CERF responded and offered observations about his experience with Zapplication. His comments were so thorough, I thought this Guest Post on ASK Harriete would be informative.

NUTTcraig2005 Note: The opinions expressed by the author, Craig Nutt, in this post are his and his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASKHarriete or Harriete Estel Berman. No endorsement or refutation is implied.

From Craig Nutt:
I have not used CaFE, but have been a juror for several shows that used Zapplication, and was considering Zapplication for craft fairs sponsored by an organization I directed.  My first experience was the first year the American Craft Council used Zapp for their shows, and I have been on another ACC jury since.  Both times, the jury was live -- in fact, ACC convened 2 separate juries with 9 jurors each (I believe) separating home and office from more fashion-oriented work. 

A/V technicians were present to handle the process and troubleshoot loose network cables, etc.  I believe the images were served on a local server, rather than over the internet, giving them much more bandwidth than you have over an internet connection.  This (along with multiple projectors) allowed them to project all slides for each entry together, just as they were done when slide carousels were used. 

Zapp The submitted images on Zapplication are 1920px x 1920px, and most projectors are limited to 1024px x 768px, so it was possible to zoom into the images at two additional levels of magnification.  This was incredibly helpful to the jurors and really helped some artists (e.g. weavers, basket artists) by giving a better view of the detailed structure, and hurt some (you could see bad welds!).

The score sheets are on a notebook with thumbnails of each of the images, so there is no mistaking an entry and scoring on the wrong line.  There is also the capability of going back and looking at images full screen or reviewing a score, but this is of limited value since there is very little time to do this with the number of slides that have to be scored over the days of jurying.  In the old days, ACC put the slides on a timer, which was fair but there was no going back.

On another jury for a smaller show, the jurying was a little different.  The images were served over a high-speed internet connection and there were some compromises for the reduced bandwidth.  (A wired network connection can deliver 100 or even up to  1000 Mbps while a DSL connection typically delivers under 3Mbs –that is bits not bytes).  The limitations of bandwidth translated into a very acceptable experience, but not the deluxe experience of the ACC jury.  Images were projected one at a time, and zooming had to be done more sparingly.

There are a few fringe benefits of this new technology that might not occur to some artists.  One is the ease of handling applications, by both the artist and the organization.  Gone are sorting slides into 5 carousels and all the paperwork to create jury forms and get slides in the right order and pointing the right direction.  No more two checks, one for jury fee, and one for the booth fee (returned if you do not get in).  Also, no slides to return.  The submitted images are large enough to use for publicity and don’t need to be scanned, improving the chances that more artists will be considered for press requests, postcards, ads, and other publicity.

In one of the last carousel juries I was on, a slide jammed.  As the staff was fishing it out with a butter knife, one of the jurors remarked, “actually they never perfected THIS technology.”

Pros for Zapplication:
•    Ease of handling
•    Score sheets with thumbnail images
•    Ability to go back to review scores and revise (if there is time)
•    Square format does not favor horizontal images-all images are the same dimensions (square images may be slightly favored in image area)
•    Possible for organizers to show selected images without manually resorting slides (extremely useful for tiered juries such as fellowships or exhibitions)
•    Ability to zoom in on images (depending on the bandwidth available)
•    Slides do not jam
•    Makes it easy and cost-effective to jury remotely and not convene a live jury

Cons for Zapplication:
•    Makes it easy and cost-effective to jury remotely and not convene a live jury
      o    If the jury is remote, images will probably be viewed on variously-sized computer monitors, rather than being projected
      o    If the jury is remote, the process is not facilitated and managed by staff
•    Images shot with inexpensive digital cameras are often not as good as transparencies (I noticed this when reviewing images for a book with both film and digital submissions)
•    There can sometimes be delays due to technical glitches (similar to slides)

Copy of glasses From the point of view of a juror (and as an artist) I think these are the most important aspects of any jury system:

•    Fairness to all submissions
•    Images are projected in as close to ideal circumstances as possible (quality projector, high resolution,  good background, easy to read the images)
•    Simplicity of the review process for the juror.  Allow the juror to concentrate on the work submitted and not the jury process.  In my best jury experiences, the process has been so well-organized as to be transparent.
•    (Fringe benefit) Opportunity to meet and get to know the sponsoring organization and staff as well as other jurors.

Thank you Craig for this behind the scene insight into Zapplication and the jury process.

Harriete NUTTradisht1

Craig Nutt is a woodworker and Director of the Program at CERF. He was the juror for the Lark Book 500 Chairs, has exhibited his work widely, and is included in 12 museum permanent collections.

This post was updated on February 11, 2022.


Craig Nutt Burning bench titled Burning © 2002 Craig Nutt
Oil paint, lacquer on carved wood
46" x  57" x  31"
Upholstery- handwoven & dyed cotton silk chenille by Janet Taylor.


Craig Nutt  Burning bench close up 4  



Photo Comparisons and Descriptions - Now Optimize Your Submission

The previous post answered a question from Lora Hart about what information jurors really take into consideration.

She also sent several photos for comparison. Today we will look more closely at the photos and the photo description. There are several issues to look at here.

Compare and contrast these photos. How does the quality of the photo affect your opinion of the work?

What do you think about the inclusion of technique within the photo description?

Lora Hart Communion PhotoLHart Lora Hart Communion MarshaThomas

.999 Metal Clay, Mica, Photograph, Pearl. Kiln fired, riveted.
Left Photo by Lora Hart.
Photo by Marsha Thomas.

The photo left was taken by the artist.
Unfortunately, the lighting reveals the "wavy" surface of the frame. This is distracting and the least attractive part of this pendant. From a technical standpoint, a frame like this should be cut from a silver sheet or sanded to a smoother appearance (before riveting).

The completely centered pendant and background look a little rigid and static. The pendant is sinking into the background.

In the professional photograph on the right by Marsha Thomas, the spot of light on the lower right gives a strong shadow below the pendant. This clearly delineates the pendant, giving the pendant a presence and lifts the pendant off the background.

The extra lighting also makes the photographic element glow with a richer color. Since the photo is an important part of the composition, this extra emphasis is important.

While a photo description (above) as written by Lora Hart would not get the artist eliminated, it focuses too much attention on the techniques.  This is intended to be constructive criticism to stress how important words can be in representing your work.

The photo description should include ONLY materials. Including "kiln-fired", and "riveted" in the photo description is unnecessary.  I do not recommend including any fabrication or technical information in a photo description (unless it is required).  Even then, a requirement for technical information is usually a separate box on a juried application.

The term photo in the description seemed a little unclear to me. I looked at the image and wondered why the photo had a brown tint. It was only after discussion with Lora, that she realized that she forgot to include Mica in the description (I added this later).

After we cleared up this issue, it brought something to mind. If a juror is confused about an image, it brings the work closer to a rejection. In this example, I didn't understand why the photo had a brown tint. Only after two emails, did Lora and I clear this up. During a real jury situation, communication with the artist is not an option. If anything in the photographic image of your work isn't explained in the description, most likely your work is out. Don't use the term mixed media for just this reason.


Lora Hart Eidyl PleasurePhotoLH

Lora  Hart Eidyl PleasureMarshaThomas

Eidyl Pleasure.
Copper, .999 Fine Silver, Pearls. Hydraulically Pressed, Kiln Fired, Sewn.
Left Photo by Marsha Thomas.
Photo by Lora Hart.



The photo taken by the artist on the left seems a bit out of focus. In a competitive jury situation, an out-of-focus photo is usually an automatic "decline".

So sorry to be so blunt, but if the photo isn't in focus, it sends a message that the artist/maker is:

  • not professional;
  • they are not focusing on their art  or craft;
  • the maker does not have professional quality photos because they don't care; and if the artist doesn't care, then the juror doesn't care;
  • = Decline.

Another problem with the photo on the left is that the color is lifeless. The completely centered pendant within the photographic frame looks somewhat flat and dull (especially in comparison to the photo on the right).

In the professional photo (on the right) by Marsha Thomas, the spot of light on the pendant and the background gradient helps to highlight the pendant. The focus is clear and sharp. The color of the copper looks luminous and rich. The metal shines. I like how the point of the pendant points diagonally into the corner which creates a more dynamic image. The pearls extend this movement into the corner of the frame filling the entire rectangle format of the image.

The photo description should include only the materials, no technical process. 
Do not list technical process unless it is required information. I am not as familiar with other media, but jewelry/metals people seem overly focused on technical processes and it becomes a boring crutch. Skip it. Nada, never include any processes in your photo description. The only thing people or jurors want to judge is the final work, not how you made it.

Take out terms such as "Hydraulically Pressed, Kiln Fired, Sewn" from the photo description. This goes in a box for process or technique, not in the photo description. Avoid discussion of technique unless it relates directly to the theme.

NEXT PHOTO comment:

sterling silver, .999 Metal Clay, pearls,
silk. Fabricated, kiln-fired, sewn.
Artist: Lora Hart
Photo Credit: Marsha Thomas

Lora Hart's ring (to the left) only has one professional-quality image, so there is no comparison photo.   But  I do have a comment. The top of the ring and the background are too close to the same value.  I wish that there was more contrast between the ring and background, either the ring had a little more light on it, or the background was a lighter color.


I would add the term "ring" to the title as in Conquistador Ring. Adding a clarifying word makes it very clear when the juror is looking at the work.

Of course, in this case, it is very obvious that this is a ring, but sometimes rings don't look this obvious. The same goes with a bracelet, pendant, necklace, teapot, book, cabinet, etc.

Hope this information is helpful. Do you have any photos like this to compare for ASK Harriete readers? Photos you took yourself and then had the same work re-shot by a photographer.

Thank you Lora Hart for sharing.  This has been a great comparison to review.


This post was updated on February 11, 2022.

CaFE, Behind the Curtain: Challenges for a Juror Using CaFE

In the previous post, I described two challenges using CaFE from the Juror's perspective. There were more challenges for the jurors.

CaFElogo2 From my experience as a juror, CaFE offers a sub-quality jury review. Jurors and artists need to know. CaFE needs to change!

Reading this post, voicing your opinion, and the power of the marketplace can be a voice of change.

Juror Challenge #3.
Image review is a nightmare.

Forward Image review was possible in three different methods - all bad! When reviewing images in the "Preview Slideshow" mode, "Thumbnail Scorecard" mode, or the "Slideshow Scorecard" the juror could only go forward. The juror could only advance the images on the monitor to the next images.

The impact was that you looked at the images submitted early (the ones at the beginning of the review) over and over, and over.  The images at the end of the slide review were seen fewer times.

Back-button Eventually, almost by accident, I finally realized after the jurying was over that the left and right arrows on my keyboard could be used to go back and forth while in the "Slideshow" mode.  But in the "Thumbnail" mode, you have to use the BACK button.  Not even the same button. There were no explanations Back or indications for these options on the screen.

The other juror had the same problem. Neither of us figured out the keyboard options for reviewing the previous images. There are no clues or cues on the screen for how to look at a prior image. For comparison, Flickr and Facebook albums have arrows, next or back, buttons on-screen near the images.

Juror Challenge #4.
Scorecard was confusing.

Cafejuryresults The review for the scorecard was effectively encrypted, i.e. hard to decipher and confusing.  Images were described by a 6 digit number. There were no options for sorting the jury ranking of the submitted images.  Also, the scorecard did not include a thumbnail of each image to remind the juror which six-digit number was which image. 

HarrieteGLOWINGFANThe juror is presented with a scorecard with columns of 6 digit numbers (above right image) How would you feel as the juror?  How can you possibly remember an image by a six-digit number? Talk about burning the brains of visually-oriented people. 

I went to the trouble of transferring the scorecard data to an Excel spreadsheet, re-ranked the images by the score column, and reviewed my results. It probably took me longer to review my preliminary selection than it took for initially ranking the work. Bad, bad, bad news for jurors and artists.

Juror Challenge #5.
Artist's statement

100 wordsGR The artist's statement on the application form is for one text statement only, and it is not associated or tied to the images. Thus a statement for each image was not available. 

The impact was that the artists' statements seemed generic and not specific to the images. The artist's statements were not informative. I will tell you my recommendations for getting around this in future posts.


The juror review took hours and hours; much longer than necessary due to ineffective and inefficient handling of the content.  I reviewed work on successive nights from beginning to end, looking at every image at least once each night so that they would be fresh in my mind.

Balance-scale-unbalanced In the big picture, it is the greatest of honors to be asked to make juror decisions.  I respect the process and take the responsibility very seriously.  In this event, I tried very hard to provide my best decisions, but I also came to realize that this CaFE system has room for improvement, to put it mildly. The lack of intuitive interaction caused uneven review which offends my sense of justice. I am enthusiastic about using the Internet, but the current structure and interface of this online service is a hindrance to the arts and crafts community.

If we don't talk about this out loud, it will never be fixed. I hope I am not blacklisted forever for revealing this disturbing little secret.

CaFE needs to improve its site, or I recommend finding another method for reviewing images.   

Justice_statue The next posts on ASK Harriete will cover recommendations for artists and makers to improve their chances of selection if your artwork is juried on CaFE.


This post was updated on February 10, 2022.

CaFE, Behind the Curtain: Insights as a Juror Using CaFE

CaFElogo2 I had the opportunity to be a juror for a show. The jury submissions and review used CaFE, an online jury review service.

While I have used CaFE as an artist many times to submit my work for a juried situation, this was my first time as a juror using this service.

Today's post will reveal the "behind the scenes" difficulties and challenges for a juror using CaFE. Future posts will continue with concerns and suggest options for artists to improve their juried application on CaFE.

First, let's start with my overall assessment of CaFE, then a detailed explanation.

CaFE does a great disservice to the artists, makers, and jurors. The website does not offer what I would consider the minimum features.

Justice The formatting /programming for this online service is below the current standards for social networking and photo viewing such as Flickr or Facebook. I have not used other online jury review systems, but I think there is definitely room for improvement in CaFE.One-star-rating copy If I was giving the CaFE website a review it would get one star." 

CaFE is a market leader in the online jury review business which is why the issues listed below bother me so much.

Juror Challenge #1.
Reading the information and statement.

WhitetextonBlack The information presented to the juror was white text on black. White text on black is a nightmare. (Don't use this color scheme for your website, blog, or any social networking format). White on black is hard to read, unpleasant and tiresome. 

If the text information is influencing a juror's decision, the formatting of white text on a black background isn't helping your chances of selection. White text on black isn't artful, it's antagonizing.

Juror Challenge #2.
The images are surprisingly small.

BLACK white EARRINGS by Harriete Estel Berman I would have liked to look at an image that filled my screen. I mean maybe 1,000 by 1,000 at 72 dpi or even BIGGER!

As a juror, it would be nice to be able to click on the image and get a larger view, or magnifying window. This was not possible.

The images that the juror looked at are much too small. I am not talking about the "thumbnail images". I am saying that the jurors are looking at images that were 500 by 500 pixels or smaller to make their decisions.

CAFEimageBLKborderedge Some are even "less", because if the image was not square to use up the 500px x 500px, the maximum dimension was 500px in one direction.  Consequently, any remaining area was just "fill" (for example, the right image using my work as a guinea pig).

There was no way to even look at a bigger view either. That was it! This is hardly ideal and a real downside to using CaFE. 

CaFE management says they are working on an enhancement to display images at a maximum of 700 x 700 pixels. This is a little bigger but not full-screen. That would be an improvement, but in my opinion, not enough. This issue really offends my sense of justice. Juried decisions should be based on larger photos!

Justice_statueI have three more challenges with CaFE, but am not going to overwhelm you in one day. The next three Juror "challenges" (image review, the scorecard, and the Artists' Statements) will be described in the next post. 

After that ASK Harriete will take several posts to review how artists can improve their CaFE submissions.

Stay tuned.


This post was updated on February 10, 2022.