No Such Thing as a Dumb Question:
All About Jurors

In the usual course of things, we at ArtsWorcester get a lot of questions. Through these questions, we learn that how we produce exhibitions is sometimes a mystery to artists and gallery-goers alike. In these posts, we answer some of the questions we are most often asked. Send in what seems like a mystery to you to Allie (allie “at”, and we’ll answer your questions!


Who are exhibition jurors, and what do they do?

The people whom ArtsWorcester asks to serve as jurors are usually museum curators, educators, gallerists, directors of other art organizations, or other people whose job requires them to look at and evaluate a wide range of artwork. There is no rule, however, that a person has to be professionally credentialed in art to serve as a juror. Sometimes experience or knowledge that relates to a theme, or a specific artistic media, makes someone an appropriate choice to jury an exhibition.
The juror for the College Show, for example, is always someone who works with student artists in some capacity in a New England college or university outside of the Worcester area. This criteria insures that they are broadly acquainted with student work, undergraduate studio art classes, and don’t carry any obvious bias towards one Worcester institution over another.
For exhibitions like the Biennial, we look to see who has juried similar projects elsewhere, or exhibitions that have been critical successes for reasons that relate to our mission. Word-of-mouth recommendations are also key; ArtsWorcester staff often asks colleagues at other institutions if they’ve encountered someone recently they thought would make a good juror for ArtsWorcester. For all jurors, an invitation is extended to serve for an exhibition, generally a year to a year-and-a-half in advance, and the task ahead of them explained clearly.
Jurors serve not only for the honorarium, although that’s an important part of recognizing the professional nature of the expertise they’re lending us. They agree to serve in part so they can gain exposure to a new array of artworks, and become acquainted, or better acquainted, with the artists whose work they select. They also serve in order to support the producing organization, and to create stronger communities for contemporary part in the region.
>> Next up, A question unique to ArtsWorcester: if it’s a member exhibition, why is there a juror?
Above image: Executive Director Juliet Feibel and Roger Hankins, one of our most favorite jurors.