My Experience as a Judge for the 2020 Wiltshire Creative Summer Open

Image: Me with Mirka Golden-Hann at the opening of the 2019 Summer Open, when I was exhibiting instead of on the judging panel.

I was recently a judge for this year’s Wiltshire Creative Summer Open Exhibition, which I felt very honoured to be a part of. It was interesting to see the exhibition from the other side of the fence, as last year I was an exhibitor and this year, I was invited to help choose around 90 pieces to be entered into the show and the public vote for the ‘best in show’, as it were.

The team for the 2020 Wiltshire Creative Summer Open Exhibition hosted by Salisbury Arts Centre, will be taking a slightly different approach this year for holding the event. The opening date is set as 25th August for the show to be open to the public, whilst social distancing measures are in place at the Arts Centre for the exhibition duration. The show is then due to close on 10th October. The private view is coming up soon and will likely be a virtual event hosted by the Wiltshire Creative team – you can follow my social media and that of the Wiltshire Creative team for any updates.

The judges included Katie Ackrill – Visual Art Coordinator, Pauline Scott-Garrott - Board of Trustees at Wiltshire Creative and Mirka Golden-Hann – Resident Artist and Head of Visual Arts at Wiltshire Creative. The experience of judging was a new one for me and whilst I felt very privileged to be asked along as a guest judge, I also felt an immense pressure – how did I know I am choosing the ‘right’ pieces? Art is subjective and so what one painting, sculpture or creation might say to me, may be different to someone else. This has helped to develop my understanding of the judging process, whereby our panel of judges spent around 5 hours discussing and selecting the chosen artworks for the show. Each piece was selected with all of us in agreement that it covered a range of criteria such as technical skill and strong conceptual ideas, among other desirable features.

When the show commences, there will be two prizes available after the public vote for their favourite artworks. There will be The Noble Arts Prize sponsored by Noble Arts Supplies for the under 25’s category, where the winner will receive a bundle of arts supplies and materials. The other prize is The Memory Fine Art Prize, where I will be awarding the winner with a £200 cash prize and the offer to exhibit their winning work in the window of the Memory Fine Art gallery in Winchester Street, Salisbury.

I am really looking forward to this year’s show, even though I am not exhibiting! It will be a pleasure to be able to visit an actual exhibition of local art following a long year where it feels like so long ago that we last had the opportunity. You can find out more about the 2020 Wiltshire Creative Summer Open Exhibition here: https://www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/summer-open-2020/