GLOUCESTER – The arts are “incredibly crucial” to life today, whether it’s simply being alive in the world or being culturally aware in your environment, Jeff Harrison, Chief Curator Emeritus for the esteemed Chrysler Museum in Norfolk said this week, calling on all artists in the mid-Atlantic region to participate in the Gloucester Arts Festival 2018 Juried Show.
“The arts are a fundamental part of the human condition and shows like the one in Gloucester are absolutely critical to practicing artists who don’t get many opportunities to show their work, or have their work critiqued,” Harrison said.
The Gloucester Arts Festival continues to accept submissions for its 2018 Juried Show, a unique opportunity for artists across the mid-Atlantic to curate their own show and earn a share of more than $5,000 in prize money as judged by Harrison.
The Gloucester Arts Festival 2018 Juried Show is open to artists 18 and older who live within the mid-Atlantic states of Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware and Washington DC.
The deadline to apply is Friday, April 6 by 11:59 p.m. and artists will be notified of their acceptance by April 24. Entry fee is $40.
Juried shows, like the Gloucester Arts Festival, are particularly good for artists living and working outside of metropolitan areas who don’t have as much opportunity to get feedback on their work, Harrison said.
“Artists are extremely eager to have feedback,” Harrison said. “I make a point of doing that.”
Harrison also makes a point of getting to know the artists.
“Considering all of the artists I studied were dead, I never got to talk to them or ask them what they are doing,” Harrison said. “It’s wonderful to get to talk to practicing artists, living artists, and engage with them on their processes and how they do what they do.”
The benefits of the Gloucester Arts Festival, Harrison pointed out, enriches not only the artists and collectors who purchase their works, but also the entire community.
“Bringing art into the daily lives of community members gets them focused on a larger world,” Harrison said. “It can only have positive and long term effects. It can spur individual interest in the arts as well as in the community.”
For artists still on the fence about whether to enter the Gloucester Arts Festival 2018 Juried Show, Harrison said go for it. Use this as an opportunity to expand your audience, expand your commercial reach and engage other communities.
“Shows like this are great for building reputation, building client base and generally engaging with the community,” Harrison said.
In his judging, Harrison said he will be looking for a variety of things from the artists.
“I look for technical expertise,” Harrison said. That is, “looking for the sign that the artist has mastered the tools of his medium – painting or sculpture or whatever. I look for a qualitative excellence, how they are handling their brush, for instance.”
He also looks for wit, for intelligence, in design.
“It can be in composition or something that shows the artist has really thought through what they are presenting and how they are presenting it,” Harrison said. “It can be visual or mechanical intelligence, use of color in photography or painting, all of those things.”
Being a traditionalist, Harrison said he also tends to look for works of art “that seem to me to be rooted in a deeper tradition. That doesn’t mean someone working as a pure abstractionist is off the hook. I’m looking to see that an artist has taken a look back in their genre and is responding to that.”
Artists will be juried into the Gloucester Arts Festival show with digital images of two-dimensional work – acrylics, oils, pastels, tempera, watercolors, graphite, charcoal, original print or pen and ink drawings – completed in the last two years.
For submission guidelines and to apply to the Gloucester Arts Festival 2018 Juried Show, visit gloucesterartsfestival.com.