What is it like being a Juror?

Image of the selected artists for the Washington Printmakers Gallery Small Works Exhibition
I printed out copies of each work to help me decide on what to accept for the exhibition.
Four months ago I was approached by the Washington Printmakers Gallery to Jury the 20th Annual Small Works Competition. It's a member-run gallery in the heart of Georgetown that specializes in prints. It's in a great location, I highly recommend visiting there if you get a chance and you are in the area.  I accepted the invitation to be the Juror this year and I had an enjoyable experience working with them and judging the artwork that was submitted from all over the country. 
They used the online site called submittable.com.  I have submitted my artwork to shows before through Submittable , but I have never used their website as a juror. The layout made the process really easy and made the jurying go incredibly quick and smooth with its intuitive interface. As a side note, if you are an artist actively looking for opportunities to show your artwork I highly recommend signing up to Submittable.com. It's free to sign up, and artists can search for shows through their online database. Honestly, you will likely be signing up with them at some point anyways because a lot of galleries currently use their interface for digital submissions.

Washington Printmakers Gallery Poster for The Small Works Exhibition

Back to my thoughts on Jurying...
Once it was time to jury the show I went through the list of 118 artists and over 400 pieces of art. I had a few prevailing thoughts while I selected artists for the show.  First I began by asking myself, what do I think the artist is trying to say? Each piece of art in the show contains a unique meaning. Some pieces are experimental in nature, while others were more traditional in execution. Whatever the process that the artist deploys, it is important for me to be able to understand clearly what each piece is saying regardless of whether the artist is present to clarify its significance. Secondly, I look for a mastery of the craft and the confident organization of the picture plane. Lastly, all the work chosen for exhibition contains an element of uniqueness that elevated it above the crowd. 
I needed to Reafirm my own tastes in Art
It was not an easy task, but jurying the Washington Printmakers Gallery Small Works Show was both edjucational and rewarding. It forced me to reaffirm my own tastes in art, and at the same time it challenged me to be open to new art forms. As an artist myself I know what it's like to put my work out there. (I have quite a long list of rejections myself.)  Thus I did not take the process lightly. I went in knowing that  every submission took time and cost the artist money to apply. 

Gallery View of Washington Printmakers Gallery Annual Small Works being Installed

In closing I would say that I apply to 4 - 5 National juried shows, 1 - 2 solo shows, 2 or 3 publications, and 1 - 2 grants a year. I certainly don't get accepted into everything I submit to and rejection can be frustrating, but once you do get a piece into a show or receive recognition for your art it can be the salve that helps soften the blow. I say keep at it and don't quit. Continue to look for ways to get your work out there. Just so you know, coming from someone who has juried before, don't get discouraged if you don't get accepted. It's not personal, and likely your juror has had a number of rejections as well. 
Scott Hutchison