Boca Raton Museum of Art
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May 6, 2016
59th Annual All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition
 Kerry Phillips, Chairs, Found and Fixed, 2010, chairs, zip ties, duct tape, vinyl, string, rope, wood and paper, 144 x 144 x 48 inches

This year’s 59th Annual All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition was quite a bit larger than last year’s.  Last year, we had 47 artists represented and this year it was 80.  That translates to roughly 1/3 more artworks in the show.  If you visited the exhibition both years, perhaps you noticed that it is divided into smaller “rooms” this year as opposed to the larger, sweeping gallery space we set up last year.

On Thursday and Friday, June 13th and 14th, the juror, Linda Norden, flew down to Boca to judge the works in situ. Each juror has their own set of criteria by which they judge a show.

Norden explains hers as such, “In my case, the priority was to identify work that seemed intensely rooted in some personal experience or observation, and as free as possible from predictable pictorial ticks or tricks of the trade. . . Whatever the medium, I want to feel that the content is urgent and close to the heart and soul of the artist, and that the aesthetic decisions do justice to that content.”

Norden selected Kerry Phillips’ Chairs, Found and Fixed as the Best in Show.  She gave out 3 Merit Awards to Melissa Marrero , Roberta Schofield, and Noelle Mason  for their respective bodies of work included in the show. She clarifies her choices by saying, “I’m partial to direct, clear, expression – painterly, structural, but also things that are hyper-real...” Norden indicated that she felt a strong personal statement in each woman’s work.

An exhibition like the All Florida can teach us about the Floridian arts community. For instance, there was a marked lack of artwork that dealt with war or Iraq. Norden commented on how this is not the case for New York City’s emerging artists – the city from which she hails. On the other hand, there was a “preponderance of work that made the landscape, environment, or varied population its subject.” This is especially poignant right now, considering the environmental problems occurring on the west side of the state. If I had to guess at next year’s submissions, I would expect even more environmentally-themed works and those submitted will probably have a more political bent to them.

Some suggestions for artists considering applying next year:

  1. Upload the highest-quality digital photos that you have
    When you upload high-quality digital images, it makes it easier for us to include your work in our promotional materials.  300 dpi is the standard for a good, print-quality image
  2. Submit work that can both stand alone and be considered as representative of your body of work

    Your artwork should be able to stand alone because just that one image might be picked. If it makes sense only when considering all 3 submitted artworks, chances of acceptance are reduced. We have limited space for the exhibition, and judges don’t like feeling railroaded into accepting 3 works from 1 artist.  Odds are, if a person can’t appreciate or “get” one submission without considering the other two, none will get chosen.

    However, it is in your best interest for your submissions to work well together because all 3 works could get accepted.  Both years I acted as curator of this exhibition an artist had all 3 submissions accepted. Judges like to see a well-rounded body of work that also (usually) shows some growth or development as an artist. Your chances of acceptance are increased if each of your pieces can stand alone but also work well grouped together as a whole.
  3. Read all of the instructions on the application carefully

This last piece of advice seems pretty obvious but many people ignore it outright.
Most questions can be answered by reading the rules in totality. Things like: weight restrictions, size restrictions, drop-off and pick-up times, acceptable media, ad infinitum. If there is something we missed, I will happily tack it on to the end of the rules. True, they do look long and boring to read, but it is really worth the time you take.

Any suggestions can be either posted in the comments section or emailed to myself directly at

The 59th Annual All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition will run through August 8th in the downstairs galleries, alongside the Boca Museum Artists’ Guild Biennial Exhibition.

Posted by: Kelli Bodle, Curatorial Assistant @ Friday, July 2, 2010 12:15:10 pm 
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