So, I think bringing in outside juries is inappropriate for an elected artists members organization. A one time show or art center will often have no choice but to do this, as they lack a sufficient "in-house" pool of informed jurors, or a least peers to the juried.
There is an odd difference between an art jury and a civil jury. On an art jury I think it best to have people with great expertise and discrimination. In a civil jury the best choice might be a reasonable "everyman" bringing no specialized expertise to the proceedings and representing all of society. The art juror represents a group of artists who can't all be there to make aesthetic decisions for the institution. There are more pictures clamoring for wall space than there are walls, not everything can hang, and some things are not of a quality that the other members would want to hang alongside so some pictures can hang and some cannot. Someone has to decide which is which.
Here is one solution to the problem . This would fit plein air events particularly well I think.
THIS YEARS PRIZE WINNERS ARE NEXT YEARS JURY
You win one of the top prizes, you are on the jury next year. This has a number of advantages. They are;
- Since they won a prize last year they have been singled out, at least this one time as having done excellent or the best work in a given show. This plus the vetting they received when becoming a member argues for their expertise.Doesn't prove it, but places them in as a reasonable choice to make good decisions.
- It removes last years winners from the prize pool this year. Jurors judge shows but are excluded from winning prizes. That gives others a chance to win a prize that year. A few extremely talented members can take all of the prizes year after year. I don't think that is desirable either. They can't do that if they are on the jury every few years.
- There is now a payback to the organization by the prizewinner who can return the blessing that has been bestowed on him, by serving for a morning to help the organization do that for other members. With the prize comes a duty.
- This is a real open system. People will become jurors based on their merit ( at least more often than not) not many surprises and not many ways for small cabals of the mediocre to manipulate the system for their own benefit, again a constant problem. To control the juries you have to make excellent work. Spiking the nominations won't do it.
- It eliminates "spiking" the nominees. In many institutions some poor sadsack gets the job of calling around to members and asking them to be on the juries. It can be a drag because often the prospect will tell you no. Sometimes with a rude reason why. It is easy just to call your friends. When the membership receives the list of nominees for the jury about half of them are from the same circle of friends or amateur watercolor class.Unlike a slate of nominees from some one individual member or the president of the organization or harried director, the line of succession is clear.