The festival is often a topic of conversation in my circles of friends, both because it’s difficult to get into and its validation of having “made it” in the art world.
Little is known about the reasons behind why one artist gets in, another doesn’t, and rumors fly. Having had the opportunity to be a juror, I can safely say that there is no mystery behind getting in – it’s competition and it is fierce.
Jurors look at thousands of photos of artwork and have many things to consider in a very short period of time. That includes if they like the work, if they believe it’s a good fit for the show, if the work has a consistent flow, and does the booth photo convey the level of professionalism expected?
There are often over a thousand applicants for just one show and the jury has to look at every single photo submission, which is five to seven photos each. To you, that means you know there will be amazing art at the show. For the artists who get accepted, it’s a professional validation of their hard work honing their skills, tweaking their booths and developing a style that is consistent with a top rated festival like Bayou City Art Festival (BCAF).
I asked the artists that attend my show, what it means to them to be accepted into a show like BCAF.
Adriane R. Wiltse is a jewelry designer that joined my show last spring.
“As an engineer, it is easy to find validity and value in one’s work,” Wiltse said. “Yet as an artist, it takes courage and perseverance to put your heart and soul, I mean my work, out for judge, jury and consumer. Being accepted into BCAF, one of the top in the nation, solidified my desire to pursue a professional career in the arts. It is an amazing opportunity to connect with my ideal client and meet other artists.”
Angie Spears is a mixed media artist who surprised me when I found out my show was her first just a few years ago.
“I am super excited to be a part of these shows because it really allows me to get my work in front of such a large audience,” Spears said. “I think the reverse is true also in that it’s great for Houstonians who love the arts to be able to connect one-onone with the artists showing their work. Artists love to talk about their work and are generally really open to questions.”
For me, it’s awesome to know artists like Angie and Adriane and watch their level of work progress to the point they’re accepted into a show like BCAF.
I’ve been producing my First Saturday Arts Market for thirteen years and I have often said I strive to be a mini version of the big juried festivals. So it’s with great honor to announce that I was invited this year and accepted a role as a member of the board of directors of the Art Colony Association, the organization that produces the Bayou City Art Festival.
When you’re at the show, look for me, I’ll be wearing a big smile, ear-to-ear.
Pre-sale tickets are available at all Randall’s stores and online at bayoucityartfestival.com Check the website for bus information. There is no parking at Memorial Park.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the new Market at Sawyer Yards, find him at ArtValet.com