Confessions of an Art Judge
There are probably several things that you need to know about me before you applaud or disagree with my selections this year as the 85th Annual National Arts Exhibition Juror. I am an unrepentant page flipper! You know… when you pick out a garden or home magazine in the grocery store line; it’s most likely because it had a striking image on the cover. I am going to admit it… I rarely read anything inside. I flip page after page, gathering in ideas, inspiration and yes, judgements, like… “what were they
thinking?!” When my subscription to an art magazine arrives in the mail, pristine, covered in plastic, I can’t wait for a quiet moment to flip through its entirety before going back to read anything that may have caught my interest. My apologies to any of the writers, but I am a visual person. So, if you haven’t already seen the works in the exhibition, I would certainly understand and forgive you if you passed right through my statements… on to wonder the same things I do when I flip through images. I hope you might think; “Great choice Golden!”… and I would suspect as well… “what was she thinking!?”
I have had the privilege of being surrounded by art, great art, since I was an infant. So it isn’t by mistake that I work through this world with a visual first tendency. My focus over the last 10 years has been as the Program Director of the Artist Residency Program for the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts. As such, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of visual artists, to learn from them as they learn from us, the materials of their trade. I have also assisted with over a dozen selection committees, including jurors with incredible visual gifts and capacity. Through these experiences I understood how difficult this selection process was going to be. With over 500 entries, I had my work cut out for me.
In anticipation of the opportunity to review all the works, it was both a special delight knowing I’d be treated to some amazing work to ‘flip through’ and a calamity, knowing that I was being asked not just for my own particular aesthetic taste, but to know that my selections would be on view to you all. This year the Cooperstown Art Association’s National Juried Art Exhibition is only available for viewing online. In this respect, you’re viewing of it will be very similar to my own during the selection process.
As difficult as this year has been, I am especially grateful that the Cooperstown Art Association felt an obligation to continue its long-standing legacy to once again hold this show. These are troubling times for us all as we do our best to manage in new ways and to understand our world. The art world is, as one would expect, using all its creative energy to find alternatives to engaging with itself and its public community.
What I am absolutely clear about as I look at the final virtual show with you and stare at these disembodied images floating on my computer screen is that we need these artists more than ever. To inspire, to uplift, to show us a world that we aspire to live in and to capture in a moments glance our current times. This is an incredibly difficult time for artists. I know we all hope soon to be able to visit in person the galleries, museums and studios to see the work as it should be seen and enjoyed. For now, this is the new world we inhabit. I want to congratulate all the artists that submitted work for the show. You have given me hundreds of incredible images to ‘flip through’.
Emma Golden is the Program Director at the Golden Foundation for the Arts, working directly with the artists in residence. She began as Program Coordinator, when the artist residency program began in 2012. The independent selection process which Emma manages, selects 18 artists to attend the residency for 4 weeks, providing space, material workshops and access to the acrylics, watercolors and oil paints produced by Golden Artist Colors. She is also the Communication Assistant at Golden Artist Colors, hosting visitors and assisting with a wide variety or projects. Emma assists in the hanging of exhibitions at the Sam and Adele Golden Gallery as well as curating and hanging art exhibitions in her community. She is a member of the Upstate NY Artist Residency forum and a Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute Board Trustee.
Emma completed her undergraduate psychology degree at Ithaca College in 2009. She is a graduate of The New School’s Masters Degree Program in Nonprofit Management. During her graduate studies, Emma was working at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) in their professional development department, NYFA Learning. Emma assisted in the management of several professional development programs at NYFA including The MARK Program, The Artist as Entrepreneur: Bootcamp, and Doctor’s Hours. She began her nonprofit career interning at The Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts as well as working closely with The Sam and Adele Golden Foundation since its inception in 1997.
Emma comes from a family of paint makers and art supporters. She grew up surrounded by artists and plans to keep it that way! She lives in Columbus, NY with her husband and new baby!