View Full Version : HELP for juried shows

08-14-2008, 05:49 PM
I am not sure if this is the place to post this or not, but I am sure it will get moved if I am not where I am supposed to be...
We are a small pastel society and have to have our first juried show. Does anyone in here know how to set the show up? For instance, what catagories if any.. What awards if any, or just ribbons. We are estimating only about 60 paintings, 2 per artist. We have the judge and do not know if there is a fee involved for him or not, but I assume we will ask him and if he does not want a fee, is it wrong to give him a "money gift" for his time and effort?
Any information anyone can send my way is ever so appreciated. Feel free to post here or PM me.
Thanks in advance, Linda/Pequan:o

Deborah Secor
08-14-2008, 06:50 PM
I think this is a dandy place to discuss your questions, Linda. First of all, I'm delighted to know your society is putting on a show! I remember twenty years ago when our pastel society did our first show, too, so some of what I advise could be out of date. Others will chime in, too, I'm sure.

The first thing you need is a place to hang your show. We used a furniture store the first year, and put up our own walls and easels with paintings on them for a gala reception and sale. The second year, which was the first 'real' show, we rented a building at our state fairground (and have hung the show there every year since then, too).

Then you need a judge, so you're in good shape there. If he doesn't have a set fee, offer him an honorarium that you can afford. It's the professional thing to do.

As for awards, you might go around to local art stores and framers to ask for awards. Lots of places offer awards like framing or materials. I'd also write letters to retailers and ask if they would donate a prize, the "Richeson Award" in your show, or the "Dick Blick" award. These might be materials, too. Look at the lists of prizes other societies offer to get more ideas. It takes some legwork but it's commonly done. You might also ask some of your sister pastel societies to donate a small cash prize--they're often willing to give you a helping hand.

You don't have to have any categories at all. The medium is pastel, and people will enter what they enter based more on the judge than anything else. We decided to start asking well known pastelists to serve as our "jury of selections", and we send the entries (digital now, slides in the olden days) to each juror and they choose the paintings to be shown. You may not be to that point yet, so you could call yours an OPEN MEMBERS SHOW, meaning it's open to anyone in the society who is a paid member. Eventually you can have a jury pick the paintings you'll show. Good jurors attract people, but a well known judge is even more important...all in good time.

I hope some of that helps out. Have fun--it's a lot of work but really worth it!


08-14-2008, 07:38 PM
thanks so very much for the reply Deborah....we have the place, judge, participants, but do not know how to have the judge judge it.....just 1st, 2nd, and third with honorable mention, with ribbons I guess would be best for something this small......do you or anyone else agree?

Deborah Secor
08-14-2008, 08:43 PM
I think so, although you might also try to get more prizes, as I mentioned--if you have time. Usually you give your judge a list of the awards, the name and dollar value, and often societies will try to offer a Best of Show prize that is monetary, if they can. That is usually derived from entry fees after costs are taken out, so it's worth figuring it into your plans (in the future, if not this time.) Ribbons are often given for BOS, first, second, third, and several honorable mentions, which are usually just an acknowledgement with the ribbon, not a prize or award.

At one show I was given an extensive list of HMs, up to half the show! There's no standard, just what you all want to do. This group wanted lots of people to be encouraged and ribbons aren't too expensive. I was pleased that they gave me the discretion to hand all of them out or not, depending on my opinion of the work.

Sixty paintings isn't a tiny show, you know--it's a respectable size, IMHO (and I know it's only an estimate at this point.) Monetary/material awards build up over time as your group grows and people see fine work for sale.


08-14-2008, 09:57 PM
THANK YOU AGAIN VERY MUCH.....we, the Coastal Pastel Society of North Carolina thank you!!!

08-14-2008, 10:01 PM
Our local art club has juried shows and usually uses the following: A number of honorable mention awards (maybe 6 to 10), then juror awards (another 6 to 10), and then one Best in Show. Some Best in Shows might get a gift certificate or similar prize, but often there is no prize. All prize winners get a ribbon!


Kathryn Wilson
08-14-2008, 10:14 PM
Linda - you didn't specify if this was going to be an open show, or for members only.

Not sure if this is done (Deborah you can correct me if I'm wrong), but if it's a members only show, it would be nice for more prizes spread over the whole show and have categories for landscapes, still life, animals, florals, seascapes. That way more members will get recognition and I find that is more inspiring to up and coming newbies and artists not quite ready for a national juried show.

Good to see your organization expanding!

08-15-2008, 01:13 AM
Linda you've gotten good advise from Deborah already so there's not much more I can add other than that I've been show chairperson for 3 different organizations in the last 35 years or so, and have seen just about everything and every option there is when it comes to shows. My latest "stint" was as exhibitions chairperson for IAPS from 1997 through 2005, and before that for our local pastel society starting in 1989 when the group was still quite small.

I'm guessing this is going to be a members' only competition with a local juror. If I'm wrong, just let me know. This is a good place to start when your group is relatively new and not terribly large. I suggest a small entry fee if there is still time to do that. It is a good way to build up a show fund for the group so that when the time comes you can afford to pay a judge and/or juror or use it for other expenses that future shows will bring. If you have 30 members who can afford to pay $10 to enter, you will have $300 "earned" for future shows. Be sure to designate these funds only for shows because it is easy to use it elsewhere if you don't! You might even designate part of it as award money for this show, but when first starting to do this I happen to think non-money awards go over better for the group. Sometimes jealousy raises its ugly head when a few more experienced members get all the money awards that come from fees paid by all who enter. Using the money to pay for expenses other than awards works well until members begin to have more experience as painters.

Ask your members if they want ribbons. Let it be a group decision. Some people like ribbons, and others feel that ribbons for fine art is too much like "county fair" awards. Those people prefer having a nice flat piece of paper - a certificate - that can be put into a scrap book or hung on the wall in their studio, and some people want both a ribbon and a certificate! If you don't give ribbons, you can still designate award winners while they hang at the show with any number of other methods. . . a 3x5 card or business card with the name of the award on it and attach some ribbons in appropriate colors that you get at the fabric store would be one way. The whole thing is smaller than most award ribbons and don't take up as much wall space. Ribbons on the card attract the attention of the audience so they instantly know who the winners are.

If the members feel they have a say in how the show will be conducted, they usually have a better feeling about the outcome. Is it too late to ask them if they are willing to help contact art suppliers and sister pastel societies to ask for donations? Can you ask them if they'd prefer having subject catagories or not? (I happen to be of the opinion this is not a good idea, but I'm not one of your members.) Do they want awards based upon more recognition for several people or would they prefer fewer awards based only upon merit? There is more prestiege for the winners in a show if there are fewer awards to go around. (Both instances have merit in my opinion. I just depends upon what your membership wants the most.)

Oh yah - you might want to consider a people's choice award. Many people enjoy voting for their favorite painting, and the people don't always choose the same painting as a judge chooses. This award may be given at the end of the night just before the closing of your reception, or if it is hanging for a longer period of time in a place that gets a lot of public viewing you might want to leave the ballot box out for the duration of the show so there will be even more votes.

I wish you success with this endeavor. I know what it is like to be a volunteer show chairman at every level of the game! If I can be of further help, just ask me. There's plenty of ideas I've not taken the time to address.


08-15-2008, 01:15 AM

I would suggest if you do categories to do them more generally: landscape, figures and portrait, floral and still life and a category for abstracts. I do not do abstract, but I have a real heart for welcoming those who do and never seem to fit in.

08-15-2008, 03:46 PM
I meant to add I don't enter for the prizes so much as for the feedback and exposure . . . hanging along side other artists is quite a thrill for me. That said, I have enjoyed the occasional monetary prize and I have all my ribbons hanging just outside my studio.

08-16-2008, 04:50 PM
Deborah, Peggy, Artsaveslives, Kathyrn, and Don....can't thank each of you enough....I have passed the info on to the members and we are having THEM decide what they would like to do............with all this great advice I think no matter what the decisions are, it will be a fabulous show... THANK YOU...

08-16-2008, 05:01 PM
Deborah, Peggy, Artsaveslives, Kathyrn, and Don....can't thank each of you enough....I have passed the info on to the members and we are having THEM decide what they would like to do............with all this great advice I think no matter what the decisions are, it will be a fabulous show... THANK YOU...

and you are welcome :)