BAYarts juried show winners unveiled

"Rescued from Petland" by Martin E. O'Connor won Best of Show in BAYarts' juried show this year.

With nearly 300 pieces of art received, the BAYarts juried show was a popular choice for submissions this year. Judges Kristen Cliffel and Daniel Levin spent hours looking over each piece, seeing which would make it to inclusion. And the result is a spread of art in many mediums gracing the entire first floor of the Sullivan Family Gallery at BAYarts.

Cliffel, a Cleveland Arts Prize winner, enjoyed the judging process. "Jurying an exhibition is always so exciting because you get to see such a breadth of work that is being produced, sometimes by artists you are familiar with but many times, by artists that you haven’t seen."

Levin, an associate professor of visual communication and design, hoped their gallery selections will enhance a certain feeling. "I feel it’s important to give the viewers an experience as they work their way through the gallery. I see a juror’s role to be quite similar to a better disc jockey’s. Beginning with the first piece selected, one should build an experience for the viewer. The second piece should complement the first, avoiding redundancy." Within those guidelines, Levin never wants to compromise talent. "It is important to share the variety of works within the community while keep standards on the high side regarding the integrity of the works."

Of course, many fine works of art don't always find a home in a juried show.

For those who submitted without achieving a slot, Levin had encouraging words. "It is important to me for those who submit, but do not get their work selected, to not in any way be discouraged. There is only so much space and keeping in mind any juror’s approach, there is an excellent chance that a piece not accepted one year can very likely be chosen the next, due to the other works submitted. In other words, a work not being accepted is not necessarily a measure of its quality."

A give-and-take is important for the judges to have. "Daniel is a staunch supporter of the arts here in Cleveland and also a very fine artist with innovative ideas and solutions in his own practice," complimented Cliffel. And the artistic admiration goes both ways.

"I admire (Kristen's) work very much," remarked Levin. "The craftsmanship of her pieces is always extremely high, but it’s the humor that she’s not afraid to include that I especially enjoy." And that humor is present in the juried show, as seen in a piece by Sharon Pomales that shows a Cabbage Patch doll holding a cell phone.

Also displaying some quirky fun is the Best of Show winning piece by Martin E. O'Connor. It is titled "Rescued from Petland," and is a tiny Chihuahua wearing a large studded collar and making a face with a peek of its startling pink tongue. The first-place piece by Michael Romanik features a bird, and the second-place piece by Derek Brennan displays yet another beloved creature – his wife.

Portraits are another common theme – both traditionally done and those with modernized takes. Fiber art, lithographs and ceramic pieces also are included.

This marks another successful Juried Exhibition on the BAYarts campus. Many people come from all over to see the wide variety of artists on display, which gives them all a chance to experience all that BAYarts offers. Speaking highly of BAYarts is something the two judges share.

"BAYarts is an amazing asset to the whole community it serves," says Cliffel. "The ability to drop in to view an exhibition, commune with other artists in a class, shop in the lovely store and hear music and dance on the lawn in the warmer months are some of the many reasons I love BAYarts."

Levin also feels the vibe of the Metroparks adds to the allure. "If I were ever asked to describe BAYarts to someone who has never been on site before, I would likely describe it as a small Chautauqua Institute, beginning when one enters the property," he says. "It’s set back among the trees. It’s a campus with historically interesting structures, twinkly lights, a cute restaurant, a pottery studio that any other art center would be envious of, and lovely galleries."

The Juried Exhbition will be on display in BAYarts' Sullivan Family Gallery until April 1.

Juried Awards:

Best of Show: Martin E. O'Connor - "Rescued from Petland"

1st Place: Michael Romanik - "Aviarium-Cedar Waxwing"

2nd Place: Derek Brennan - "Wildflower"

3rd Place: Michael Jackson - "Marble Jar"

Artistic Director’s Choice: Chris Benavides - "Pioneer Daughter"

A People's Choice selection will be posted via the Juried Exhibition page on

Jessica Stockdale

Jessica Stockdale is the Marketing Manager at BAYarts.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:10 AM, 03.21.2017