Portfolio Reviews: Selecting the Artists
Selecting the artists for this year’s Toledo Area Artists Exhibition was no easy task. The number of portfolios submitted for consideration – 462 portfolios in total – speaks to how many artists are working and living in this region. So, how were the artists selected?
Step one was a blind review of all 462 portfolios. This means that portfolio images were reviewed with no names attached to the entry. Associate director Amy Gilman and Andrew W. Mellon Fellow Halona Norton-Westbrook reviewed every portfolio that was submitted, examining the images of the works of art closely. During round two of their review, they began to narrow down the pool by looking for portfolios that contained multiple, exceptional works of art. The artists’ statements also played a significant role in the selection process.
Once the number of portfolios was trimmed down, Norton-Westbrook transitioned into her role as exhibition curator and selected the group of artists she would be working with on this exhibition. There were three criteria she was looking for when making this final decision:
- Does the artist have a strong personal voice?
- Do the works display excellent craftmanship?
- Is the artist dealing with a key idea that will resonate with exhibition visitors?
Throughout the process of reviewing the portfolios, choosing the artists, and selecting the works for the exhibition, Gilman continued to act as a sounding board.
In the contemporary art world, the title curator is given to a person who selects and often interprets works of art. In addition to selecting works, the curator often is responsible for writing labels, catalog essays, and other supporting content for the exhibition.
If you were curating an exhibition, how would you do it? What criteria would you use? How do you feel about having artists submit a portfolio of work?
PS : Don’t forget about the upcoming series of free Professional Development Workshops this November and December. The Toledo Museum of Art and the Toledo Federation of Art Societies are partnering to offer a free series of workshops dedicated to educating the local artist community on best business practices. More information can be found on the Events page or on Facebook.