The Show Must Go Up

Midday snow flurries in Alexandria coincided with a flurry of activity in The Art League Gallery, where jurying was taking place for the January All-Media exhibit.

Ever wondered how the artwork is delivered, chosen, and hung for each show? It’s an involved process which, thanks to the help of gallery volunteers, only takes a day: receiving started Monday after the gallery closed and the work is hung by Tuesday evening.

It all starts with receiving, when member artists drop off works of art — one or two, this month — to be considered for the show and pay the entry fee. Everything is carefully recorded.

After receiving concludes, the jurying process can begin. This month’s juror was photographer and teacher Allen Beland. The juror selects which pieces will make it into the gallery’s limited space. He also selects the artists to receive awards and honorable mentions.

Piece by piece, volunteers present the work, which the judge names a Yes, No, or Maybe — not always an easy decision, with 515 pieces submitted this month and only 153 accepted.

To get an idea of jurors’ thought processes and responses to the work submitted, Communications Director Erica Fortwengler interviews jurors for a juror’s dialogue each month. This month’s dialogue with Allen Beland is here.

Finally, the hanging committee gets to work. Following the juror’s instructions, if any, the hangers install the pieces in a visually pleasing arrangement — and in the process give the drywall a sense of purpose. The hammering and hanging takes only a couple hours, capping an accelerated process for a big, brand-new show.

It takes a group effort.

This month’s award winners were Jane Thomas, who received the Gallery Director Award for her watercolor, The Thoughts, and Sandy LeBrun-Evans, who won second place for her photograph, Truck.

The January All-Media show opens tomorrow and continues through February 6. Also in The Art League Gallery this month are the 2012 solo show preview (Jan. 5–27) and a SOHO photography exhibit (Jan. 28–Feb. 6).

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