The Crit, or How I Looked Forward to the Panel Review

The Crit, or How I Looked Forward to the Panel Review

Remember those days in college or art school or after an informal gathering of the “Crit”.  The critique was a semester requirement, a period of sitting on pins and needles up to and during the presentation.  It seems that all of them started slow, everyone nervously sitting around until the prof said who would like to go first.  Finally someone stepped up and presented a body of work.  With the urging of the professor, everyone started to open up and talk.  I was always surprised that the mix or comments were across the board, positive, negative, thought provoking, downright stupid.  But as I realized after the first one, listening and taking notes from the class: good, bad, indifferent, was always worth the listen. Each semester I looked forward to the semester crit.
The first panel discussion three years ago was sort of like that.  I didn’t know what to expect.  That was the first year of the Impact Returns Grant.  I attended not knowing what to expect.  I knew there was going to be a rating process but not that there was going to be a critique.  The reviews were short but there were bits of good info.
Year two got better.  That was the year I brought my journal and a pen.  That was the year I realized that jotting little notes about the work, not just my own, not just my discipline but jewels of insight of how my professional peers viewed art in our current environment.
By year three I was looking forward the review.  I sat upfront so I could clearly hear and jotted down thoughts while each panel member expressed their views.  The crit or panel review is a fantastic process, a group of professionals from different disciplines talking about your work as well as others.  A theater person talking about sculpture, a visual artist talking about literature.  Where else can you go for such insight.
In conclusion, even if your work is not included in the crit, attend and listen to what others see.

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