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Last night Drawing 2011 opened at the John B. Aird Gallery in Toronto. This is the twelfth year the event is held at the downtown venue. I had the good fortune of participating in this annual showcase of Canadian drawing. I’m honoured to be in a show alongside some of my favorite drawers like Amanda Burk of North Bay, Amanda Schoppel and Tom Hendry both based in Toronto. The show acquainted me with the many approaches to the drawn medium.

Me and "The Waiting" on view until March 4

This year’s jurors based their final selection of 34 works from a total of 208 images submitted by 112 artists. Each artist submitted works digitally, on a disc. As someone who is involved with organizing a similar juried show at year’s end here at Station Gallery, I began to wonder if digital submissions are the way to go. Some of the pros include:

  • getting broader exposure from artists outside the region—let’s call it “casting a broader net”
  • a more economical and stream-lined use of resources, gallery staffing, etc.
  • less chance for artwork to get damaged from over-handling
  • less gas to transport the works back and forth equals a smaller carbon footprint

And on the other side, the more traditional approach of adjudicating from original artworks has its good points too:

  •  jurors get a better sense of the scale, texture, intent, etc…
  • the final exhibition design can be stronger (i.e., themes and grouping are more apparent)
  •  the artist/gallery relationship is more organic, more personal
  • doesn’t handicap artists who don’t have access to digital equipment

It’s a dilemma. So I put it to you, the blogosphere; what are your thoughts on submitting to juried shows? Digital or Tangible; what works best?