I got the phone call last Friday, but the official letter came yesterday: I'm now a juried member of Best of Missouri Hands! It's the art group that sets the standard for excellence among Missouri's artists and craftspeople.
When I applied a few years ago, I thought it would be a slam dunk! I had a nice body of work, thought I was well respected among other artists, I had won a few awards, my craftsmanship was above average, even my mother starting liking my work!
Rejected! I was shocked. Dismayed. Deflated.
Ok. Really I was just a little annoyed and embarrassed. I thought my work was good enough. I think it didn't help that one juror didn't understand that my work was an alternate process photographic art form. Oh well. I blew if off.
All right. I didn't blow it off. It bothered me. And I wanted to improve the body of work enough to be juried in. And I started getting questions over the last few years from other artists: why aren't you juried into Best of Missouri Hands? The jury should love your work. Apply again!
I hesitated because I didn't want to repeat the rejection. Best of Missouri Hands IS the best. There are only 23 photographers in the state who have met the criteria. It's a lot tougher than I thought to get in. The artist ego is fragile. Rejection is not something that is missing in my life.
The jurors were tough. The scoring sheets showed that one juror had lots of questions about the originality and pizazz of my subject matter. Something else to work on! Fortunately, the other two jurors found enough merit, though all three voted my acceptance. The jurors are anonymous -- at least to me -- so I can only thank them publicly. Thank you!