Electronic jurying

There’s something I’ve been wondering about services like Zapp and
Juried Art Services. When you send slides the old-fashioned way, you
are to ld to be sure to apply early for a better spot in the
carousel. But the electronic apps could just as easily be
alphabetical order (condemning me to always be at the end) or random
or who knows? Does anyone know how this is handled, really?


Hi Noel,

I cant speak for certain about every jurying, but I had the pleasure
of being invited to jury on a couple of occasions and it was
separated by medium. I am also fairly certain the names were at
random. Once we were provided with personal computer monitors and we
could look all day long if we wanted and go back as often as needed
and review scores as well. This was great for looking for
consistency in voting.


Good question Noel.

Something I don’t know the answer to, but you caused me to think
about it a bit. I am the current president of the Society for Midwest
Metalsmiths, we have done many national exhibitions, all gallery
settings until this year. This year was the first year we produced a
100% on-line exhibition. We wanted to have an international
competition and the on-line venue seemed to be a perfect fit. After
reading your question, I went to our gallery page to see if the
accepted entrants seemed to be weighted toward a specific section of
the alphabet. We received a large number of images for this
exhibition and only accepted 50 for the website. I did not see any
indication that alphabetical order had any effect on the selections.
The selections ran the gamut, from A to Z, literally. Does the order
in which an image was received play a role? That would be a question
for the actual judges. I was not a judge, but if I were, I would not
be terribly influenced by the order in which something was received.
I would work in batches and continue working the batches against each
other until I came up with the desired number. Truthfully, the
largest majority of entry’s come in near the end of the submission
period… The jurors for our exhibition were Marilyn daSilva, Michael
Monroe and Susie Ganch, you might consider sending them an email to
get their opinion on this. In my opinion, one of the best tools for
competition is doing some research on the jurors, getting some firm
idea about the type of work that would impresses those specific
individuals. Having said all of that, I still think it is a good idea
to get submissions in before the last minute.

Linda Lankford

Regarding the appearance order of an online juried competition, I’m
sure it wouldn’t be difficult to implement some algorithm so that
submissions appear in a pseudo random order to the viewers.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Henderson, NV

Some have you have heard me lament before that I’m not getting into
the shows that I think I should be, and it is still true, in spite of
the quality of my work, the Saul Bell Finalist status, being on the
covers of magazines, and buying ads in American Craft and Ornament.

So I’m always racking my brain as to why this is, and what to do
about it.

I had a thought today.

Does anyone know whether, now that the applications are all
electronic, they get shown to jurors in alphabetical order? If so,
I’m thinking that could be a factor. There are SO many applicants
these days, I’m sure the jurors are blind, exhausted and burnt out
before they get to the end of the alphabet, where I am. This may
sound farfetched, but I cannot come up with any explanation for my
inability to get accepted to shows.

I may send future applications using only my first name (which is
all I use to sign my work anyway).

Does anyone actually know how applicants get ordered?


You could contact the show and ask. Most have phone numbers or email
for questions. You could ask for jury results or comments. I recently
have had problems getting into shows that I was doing for years. One
of the things I have heard recently is that they have been overloaded
with applications and jewelry is the most saturated media. I also
think that some jurors either have very specific taste or else very
little knowledge of jewelry or art media outside of their specialty.
Every juried show I have been to has had its fair share of people
that make you wonder how they made it through the jury process.

Hope you have better luck in the future,
Melissa Stenstrom

I have been told by a frequent applicant, and sometime juror that it
is shown in the order in which it is submitted. This was corroborated
by the head of a regional Arts Commission. I was advised to get it in
at least three days before the deadline. By the time they get to the
last submissions, everyone is tired and bored…I hope that helps!

Don’t know your work, but some styles are not in favor. I also have
trouble I just finished judging an exhibition today. The biggest
problem for me was not being able to see enough detail. One entry had
2 photos but both were on a full length model. Good looking but no
close view of work.

It’s discouraging. Don’t compromise your own vision… At least not
until your kids are too hungry. Good luck Marianne hunter


Get your hands on a copy of Bruce Baker’s DVD,

Your Slides and the Jury a… Many Artists try to show a jury their
range of talent by putting many pieces in the slide, but that rarely
works as well as focused visual presentation. Learn how to compose
your slides to gain an advantage over the other applicants. Learn
the thought process behind the jury selection.

It is invaluable including how to photograph for websites,
promotions and such. His website is www.bbakerinc.com He talks about
the jury process and how to best photograph your jewelry and which
slides to choose.

Pat Gebes

On ZAPP, shows have the choice of choosing alphabetical, numerical
(by the artist’s number), or in order of application coming in. The
default is the last option…which in my mind is the most fair. You
can question the show, but my guess is that most shows go with the
default setting.

My thought is to apply early to get higher up in the viewing order.
Juror fatigue happens. And jewelry is usually the largest category.

We jewelers must be at the very top of our games to get into shows.
That means great photographs as well as a top-notch booth image. The
last thing a jury sees of your work is the booth image. Also its
important to give the jurors reasons to say “yes” to your
application but AS IMPORTANT to give them nothing to say “no” to. In
a category as competitive as ours often times the jurors have to get
very nit-picky to make final cuts. Give them no reason to score you

Consistent backgrounds, images that go together, great booth photo,
strong graphic images…all help.


On ZAPP, shows have the choice of choosing alphabetical, numerical
(by the artist's number), or in order of application coming in.
The default is the last option. 

Well, if that is the case, then there’s another explanation shot
down… Do you truly know this for a fact?

My slides are shot by Larry Sanders and are great, consistent,
arranged with consideration for Bruce Baker’s advice… I’ve even
paid for professional evaluation by a virtual jury of “experts”
without anyone being able to give any clue why I’m not getting in.
If anyone wants to take a crack at it, I’ll show you my images! I
ALWAYS submit early in the process, too. I have a beautiful booth
shot. Really, it’s a mystery!


Noel - the best I’ve gotten about jurying for the big
shows came from Bruce Baker. It matters how your work is ordered and
which work you select for jurying. I think he still offers a critique
of your work as far as jurying.

The other eye-opening experience was to attend an open jury for one
of the events you have selected. I was surprised to discover that
many of them solicit artist attendance at the initial jurying. It is
depressing to see your work flashed on the screen for six to eight
second and have a go/no go decision from the jury. That’s not the end
of the jurying but it shows in dramatic fashion how much it matters
that you have unique, colorful, related objects that feed the jurors
eye direction. It also puts in perspective what your competition
looks like.

Judy Hoch

On ZAPP, shows have the choice of choosing alphabetical, numerical
(by the artist’s number), or in order of application coming in. The
default is the last option.

Well, if that is the case, then there's another explanation shot
down... Do you truly know this for a fact? 

It is a fact. A show can "sub-sort artists by: Application received,
Application ID, Artist last name. I am looking at the
backside/administrative side of a ZAPP show site. The default is
Application ID, not Application Received. The application ID is a
random number I am not sure how it is generated.


I have sat in on two different juries for shows that let members
attend. Broadripple and Morning Glory. If you aren’t a member of
either organization you may want to consider joining and then
driving up or down for the jury Noel.

I was amazed. Especially in the jewelry category.

Many artists obviously create work specifically for the jury process
or photoshop it into submission because seeing a pair of earrings
that are 1" -2" across projected to be several feet wide on a screen
and not seeing any scratches just doesn’t seem realistic. Either they
do some kind of crazy super polish that removes scratches you
couldn’t see with the naked eye or they electronically wipe things.
The work is very flashy as well, it doesn’t even seem to relate to
what you realistically see in the cases that is for sale in some
cases. Artists that mostly handcraft metal will often show their
small selection of work with flashy stones because when you have 6
seconds to impress a juror a stone wins out over finely crafted metal
every time.

Just my 2 cents.

It really was eye opening.


Hi Noel

Just a thought… could it be anything to do with the text
accompanying the images, ie the interpretation?



I think you might have a point. If I had your last name I would be
calling shows and finding out how they are sorting their artists.
Also you might want to talk to NAIA (National Association of
Independent Artists) to see if they have any advocacies in that area.
http://naia-artists.org They are a non-profit organization that
advocates for artists with shows.

If you find shows are doing it alphabetically, write a nice note to
the director explaining why doing it by application date would be
fairer to all those at the end of the alphabet. I’d call the shows
you aren’t getting in and see how they sorted their applications.
(This of course only applies to ZAPP shows.)


I have a fabric artist friend in the same position as you… unable
to get iinto a specific show. She got photos of the work of the
fabric artists who did get in and laid them next to hers… she
could see an immediate difference in the way her garments presented
in photo compared to theirs… She is re-making the garments she
will use for her jurying photos.

Good luck!


Get your hands on a copy of Bruce Baker's DVD, 

I went on Bruce Baker’s website to look at his DVD’s but all I saw
were CD’s. Does he have anything that you can view or it is just


Get your hands on a copy of Bruce Baker's DVD, I went on Bruce
Baker's website to look at his DVD's but all I saw were CD's. Does
he have anything that you can view or it is just audio? 

The Bruce Baker DVDs are audio files and are well worth the
investment. The 3 piece set covers photography and jurying, booth
design and display, and sales techniques. His insight is particularly
well articulated and his advice is well founded.

Michael David Sturlin