Decisions Decisions

After choosing our final artworks, whittling 119 down to just 33, we took another look after the judges have gone and decided that more works can fit into the exhibition than initially thought. Myself, the P&P assistant and the Artistic Director had another meeting to discuss what works left over from the maybe selection should move forward intot he exhibition. We took into account keeping the decision making judge happy in order to secure prize funding, but not to the extent of changing our shortlisted ten artworks. There was also a piece by our youngest artist. Its standard wasn’t of great quality, but I thought that the demonstration that someone so young could take part in a professional exhibition may inspire other children who encounter the gallery over the holiday period into making their own art for the exhibition next year as they could see that success is achievable. It would also have been a more accessible piece for children who visit in comparison to some of the other chosen artworks. However, staff were divided and in the end we decided not to include it in the exhibition. The process helped me create reasoning and understand curatorial choices which were challengesI had never faced before.

In the afternoon I met with the marketing intern and the artistic director to discuss her career path and position within artsdepot.  Although I had already worked quite closely with her it was really interesting to hear the challenges that face a programmer, and how unique and challenging artsdepot was as a venue to programme. Challenges faced at artsdepot include; location (just in london, just out of hertfordshire, two very different audiences to cater for), stage structure (the Pentland is very large space and can become flat floor but small audience size, and the Studio has a large thrust which can affect seat allocations during shows such as puppetry). I asked what age was most difficult to bring in,and it was the 18 -24, i suggested that ticket pricing can be off putting but people seem to be more willing to part with money for live music than theatre which may be something they could consider int he future. I don’t think I would like to programme but it was really interesting to see what she has to work with and how demanding a position it can be, and how unique artsdepot is to have their programming department run so closely alongside the participation department. It demonstrates their core values as an institution, that participation is paramount to the work that they do. I think it is a very successful model and example of how a multidisciplinary centre can run and that perhaps larger institutions over complicate their education and learning facilities by totally separating it from curators and the art form it could have available.

I left late into the evening as  was determined to complete the task of informing all successful applicants of their outcome as it would make easier work for everybody else of the course of the week that I would not be in the office. Sometimes I think how great it would be to be full time their, and how much I would love it. I am still considering applying for the full time position.

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Judgement Day

I arrived early this morning to ensure that every artwork was available, all the supporting documents were organised and that everything was in order for the judging process. My colleague set up the meeting room while I printed out the panel sheets and any missing images or documents. Time flew by and if I’m honest i was really quite nervous about the day.

The exhibition has been very personal to me as I see it from beginning to end,  and I was beginning to really worry that any mistakes I had made during the process may prevent someone’s work from being seen by the judges, or impact their decision upon. I understand that taking such a personal approach to a project could be seen as unprofessional as it could impact on how the work is executed. However I believe in this situation it has made me really dedicated to the porject and has created an urgency in successfully executing it. The participation and programming assistant is leaving and I want to do well not only to impress the participation manager and artistic director as I consider applying for their position, but also to do them well and show them how much their advice and assistance has helped me so that they leave with something to feel very proud about.

the morning was spent going over every artwork and responding with a yes, no or maybe. I had chosen my panel well as they both addressed the scale of artworks, while we discussed the potential audience to the exhibition that we know from how artsdepot. it was important that each artwork chosen was accessible for all ages, but I particularly wanted this year to push the art forms slightly more than compared to other years. Their was certainly a political element to the process, as the head of the trust that funding the local artist prizes decides the winners, and he has a very set opinion on what is considered as ‘good art’, which can often be very traditional.

The judging panel consisted of the Assistant Curator for Touring at the Hayward, The curator of modern prints and drawings at the British Museum, the Artistic Director of artsdepot, the participation and programming assistant and myself. I had initially considered the judging panel as an opportunity to discuss career paths and networking with the arts sector of London, but with so many submissions to discuss, and further research to do during the recess, I plan to raise my questions to them at the private viewing instead. it was especially lovely that the made a comment on how impressed they were at how smoothly and well roganised the day had done, that really made me feel like I had achieved something, and deomonstrated my ability to execute a high level of professional ism within a desired work environment.

 

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Working Up to It

Today was the Friday before a day would be spent judging all 119 submissions for the exhibition with our selected panel of judges. I had to complete organising the postal submissions and inputting the information onto the spreadsheet with the other submissions. I also had to complete a lot of responses to more queries and emails to artists highlighting when future contact would be made. Although it was nice to make each email personal, it was also very tme consuming but very time consuming. I can understand why an intern is needed every year to oversee the project, as there is so much to organise and distribute before the curation of the actual exhibition.

Once completing the input of all the applications, I started to design the judging panel sheet that would be used to score the works. It was important to include the relevant information for each artwork that would be useful when considering the exhibition. This would include size and medium of the artwork as these would impact how the exhibition would look, and we felt it would be important to fairly represent each medium. I decided to colour code each artist for their prize eligibility as not to provide the judges with a visual information overload of too much text.

Through out the day myself and my colleague printed out the submissions and their supporting documentation. What should have been a smooth process was complicated by a broken printer, which can easily annoy your co workers when in a shared office environment as we work in, this meant that we were unable to complete the print out s and made a decision to arrive early on the pane day before set up to complete the folder of submissions.

The images had to be numbered in same order as panel sheet; alphabetical became numerical as each artist was numbered and artworks numbered to match. Artists with more than one artwork became 43 A) and 43 b) for example.

It was disappointing to be unable to complete it all in in a day, but it demonstrated the importance of managing time and being realistic with estimations of tasks.  It also highlighted the importance of putting aside time in preparation of any issues that may arise.

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R rrr Repetition

This session was the prenultimate day in the office before our meeting with the judging panel, and also my first day in since the submission deadline. I logged in to see that the number of submissions had trebled from 38 to 119 artworks. We had received the most Young Artists submissions a year had ever seen. My entire day was taken up with processing each application into my database and responding to the individual artists with an email stating when we would be in contact about the final exhibition selection. Although I thought it would be a straight forward process, it became very time consuming due to odd queries amongst the submissions, and missing documentation from artists. I understand that unexpected events or hiccups are a common occurance within an artscentre and you must always be prepared to overcome them. I didn’t manage to complete them all in a day,so left myself with all the post submissions for when I was next in, a planned place to break as the process would be diffrent to the system I had sorted for my self with emails throughout the day.

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The end is on it’s way..

The morning session of messy play was a very busy one, lots of new and excited babies. We did spin paintings this week which fascinated the kids, spinning a bucket suspended from the ceiling. It was quiet dangerous, and although we warned to hold on to your kiddies if they wanted to go onto the piece, there were some slips and slides regardless. The future of messy play was discussed after the second session and I think I would like to keep helping out, regardless of whether I get paid or not. It gets me up early and I really enjoy it!

I finalised my judging panel in the afternoon which was easier to discuss with the artistic director than I was expecting. I really hoped to work with a former graduate of my current MA course who is currently curating a festival in east London, but we chose on name and reputation, deciding on someone from the Hayward and someone from the British Museum. I understood the importance of this for artsdepot as a whole, especially as they have dramatically cut their gallery exhibition availability due their LSC partnership.

I then organised their itinerary on the panel day (10 days time! Eak). Many more submissions had come through, so after data basing them, and asking for one more push on social media from marketing (which I always feel rude asking as I’m only interning so can’t really tell them what to do can I?) it was home time!

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Busy busy busy

This session certainly made up for the lack of productivity at the last!
I got so much done today. I sent more interest emails out to potential panel members, using my course director to contact alumni with interest.
I started printing out those submissions received in preparation for judging day. Some had been received at the box office as well which was very pleasing. I got all their details into the database, adding a few extra columns of information that may be beneficial when organising the judging panel day.

One man with a query about pricing had links to Barnet age UK and have interest in working with us further. I passed his interest into Vicky as I knew they were hoping to work with the older generation for finding in te future, one of the benefits of being in an open office is to hear things that you could help with.

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One of those days

Today felt like nothing was achieved. The day flew by! Messy play was super messy. The younger class was very busy with new faces so was a little chaotic, whilst the next session was a lot quieter which was really peaceful as the toddlers began to really focus on what they were doing, and I got a chance to talk to the mums about what they like about messy play which was really beneficial. For a few who had gone back to work it was their special time together, a real bonding opportunity. There was also discussions of the end of me perhaps being able to help facilitate the sessions or assist as paid work, which is very exciting.

After my first taste of sushi with marketing in the afternoon I met the front of house manager and the technical director, which were very different discussions to the ones I had the previous day. They were very much about function, complying to procedures but both men also displayed a true passion for their work, which is apparent throughout the artsdepot staff.

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