Jury duty, the fun kind

Image from KQED Arts

A couple months ago, I was asked to be part of a jury for parent-artist applicants to Elsewhere Studios, the artistic residency my family and I attended last summer. The applications arrived earlier this month, and I have been having a great time reading them.

Because my specialty is writing, I have received ten applications from poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers at varying stages in their careers. The talent is incredible, and every project sounds amazing. Linking all of them (and me too) is the need for time and space to bring the work from imagination into reality–without having to choose between art and family.

If you’re an aspiring writer or artist, I highly recommend reading submissions whenever you have the opportunity. Not only do you get to support and bolster other creatives, you learn more about why some applications are rejected from the other side of the process, which can take some of the sting from your own rejections. For example, I might recommend a project set in Colorado or a proposed collaboration between kids and parents over other equally strong applications for this particular Colorado-based, parent-artist residency. At this high level of talent, details like that send an acceptance to one and a rejection to another–with a sincere hope that the applicants keep writing and submitting to find their Yes.

The next step will be to meet virtually with the jury members from other genres, where we will share our detailed reasoning behind our top picks. Together we’ll narrow the field to the maximum number of accepted artists, and the directors of Elsewhere will make the final decisions. (At least, that’s my understanding of the process!)

Bravo to all of these talented people for making it happen, whatever “it” may be, overcoming obstacles large and small in dedication to their craft. Wish I didn’t have to choose! And my thanks to Elsewhere and the other jurors for sharing this process with me. It’s an honor to welcome the next generation.

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