Yesterday I had the honor to work with Joel Zak in choosing awards for Salem’s “Something Red” exhibition, sponsored by Artists in Action. This year marks the 10th anniversary of this show, which includes an Art Walk, Awards Reception, Raffle and Demonstrations. The show begins on First Wednesday, December 5, 2012 and runs through Dec. 31. Art will be located throughout participating businesses in Downtown Salem, as well as 365 Ferry St. The awards reception and raffle will take place from 7-8 pm on December 5.

Choosing awards with another juror is always interesting! Art is a very subjective pursuit, and what appeals to one may not immediately grip the other. Joel and I worked well together though. It was fascinating to hear what appealed to him about a particular work, and to try to explain why I was drawn to each particular piece. Red is one of my favorite colors, so I have high standards! In this case though, I wished we had more awards to hand out. To those whose work wasn’t chosen for an award, keep trying!

We were charged with considering Mastery of the Medium, Use of the color red, and presentation. There were so many fine works to choose from, that our task took much longer than I expected. One thing that often tipped the scales in favor of a particular piece was how much of the artist’s personality we saw uniquely portrayed through the work. We looked for the unexpected, the heartfelt and the unique.

The other thing that often came up in discussing the art was the idea of unity. We both felt that each of our top award winners demonstrated unity in their work, and often that was the deciding factor that got the piece to the top of the heap. This morning, reading some of my favorite artists blogs, I came upon this article by Casey Klahn at Pastel Workshop: When Artists Unify. It’s one of the best illustrated examples on unity I have seen. I hope you’ll hop on over and read it! And I would encourage you to see the “Something Red” show in Salem next month!

“Pink and Green Prairie” ©Casey Klahn

Other examples of unity that I found in my files!

“Orchard Walk” ©Ruth Armitage, Acrylic on Canvas 36″x48″


Jan Mankes

©James Kirk


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