In a followup to the recent story about robbing two young artists of a competition win and prize money for daring to enter nudes, several Virginian columnists have had their say about their feelings on the matter. These two articles particularly stuck in my mind as excellently worded chastisements on a very badly handled and badly executed debacle. Tamara Dietrich from The Daily Press had this to say:
No nudity? Say it right out. And don’t pre-screen 600-plus entries down to the 62 that De Groft was given to choose from, leave in “inappropriate” art, then call for a do-over when your juror makes his choice.
And next year? Good luck landing jurors with the stature of De Groft or Howe. Art experts tend to not take it well when their judgment gets publicly disrespected. When they’re assured they have absolute final say in selecting a winner … except not really.
In fact, why not leave art experts out of the equation entirely from now on and just hand the decision-making over to advertising and marketing.
We in the news business go to great lengths to shield minors. Slapping a blue ribbon on a picture of a naked high school senior, perhaps reprinting the work in the paper and using it in a slide show, goes against our protective instincts.
The first judge departed and a second was summoned.
Enter Scott Howe, director of education and public programs at the Chrysler. He studied the works and selected a sculpture of a nude pregnant torso as best in the show.
The representatives of the paper groaned. No nudes, they said.
“I was told I wasn’t allowed to honor either girl in any way,” Howe said.
If that was the case, Howe said he told the organizers, they should remove those off-limit items from the judging. They refused. So he, too, walked o
Both Reid and Childs, the artists who were censored out of their rightful winnings have received checks from the community for the same amount as the prize money by way of saying sorry. It’s so nice to hear that the community has rallied to support these talented young artists.