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Apples & oranges: how do you judge art?

How do you judge a piece of art? I recently was pleasantly surprised to learn a photo of mine placed Third in an art competition. There were so many beautiful pieces and so many examples of diverse media, I would imagine it was pretty difficult to chose which pieces stood out. With all the different types of media, how can you compare a photo with a sculpture or a piece of pottery? Or a digital print with a pencil illustration? Judges have to be knowledgeable on the different techniques and skills required for a wide variety of mediums. But moving past the pieces that showed a high skill level, they also evaluated the work's success at the basics like composition, colors (or lack of), line quality, and communication of intent. Judging an exhibition like this must be extremely difficult. What I enjoyed most, however, was listening to the feedback from the attendees - particularly the children. They were also asked to vote for their favorite. Their opinions were so pure. A piece moved them or it didn't. A piece engaged them or it didn't. When all is said and done, isn't that how we judge all art. It either connects with us or moves us or it doesn't. Sure, we can look at a piece intellectually or evaluate the skill it took to create it, but what makes us really love a work of art is how it connects with our spirit or our emotions.


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