Curator Conversation: “Biennial 2019”

Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

Nichole Hickey, Manager of Artist Services

The Cultural Council showcased its first juried exhibition (which was also the second-ever exhibition in the Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. Building) in 2012. As it aligned with the Cultural Council’s mission to serve professional artists that live or work in Palm Beach County, we thought this would be the best way to get to know and engage local artists. The show was titled “PBC:ART” and came with numerous hurdles. From the process of having all entries sent to me via ‘snail’ mail to getting the jurors to decide who and what would be in the show was quite the task! Since then, I’ve found an easier way to tackle the process that makes it much easier—especially when the juror is out of state.

“Biennial 2019” is the fourth juried exhibition in our main gallery and we chose Melanie Johanson, curator of contemporary art at Cornell Art Museum at Old School Square, as juror. We worked together, through the Call for Entry (CAFÉ) juried service, to select 33 artists and 56 works of art to display through mid-August. At the member preview, we awarded Best in Show to Rick Newton, second prize to Isabel Gouveia and third prize to Michael Raiman—all winners were chosen by Melanie from the selected works.

As I was not the juror of the show, I had no idea what Melanie was going to choose out of the 565 entries by 156 artists. When I finally saw the work in person, I was quite impressed, in addition to being impressed that about a third of the artists have never shown at the Council before! Now that everything is in place, carefully hung and lit with known and new artists on display…we can celebrate their talent all summer long. Lastly, when you visit, you can vote for the People’s Choice award—collect a ballot at the front, find your favorite artwork and vote for that work/artist to win a prize of $500. Votes are one per person, per day! Winner will be announced the beginning of August.

Good luck to all artists!