FESTIVAL: MARCH 17-19, 2023

Judges and the Judging Process

The jurist panel consists of three (3) independent judges who are selected annually from across the country for their in-depth knowledge and experience in multiple art media. In October, they will review the digital images of all applicants to select the Festival artists and the Waitlist artists. In March the same jurist panel will review the work of the exhibitors to determine those artists they consider eligible for awards. Judging of the awards is based upon the overall quality of the artwork exhibited. After a booth is selected by a judge, the artist is responsible for selecting one piece for Saturday's awards processing that best represents his or her entire body of work. The Best of Show, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation Award, and the Morse Museum Award are each presented for an individual piece of art. Awards are presented solely at the discretion of the judges.

2022 Judges


Michael GainesMichael Gaines

Hannibal, Missouri


Gaines considers himself an accidental arts administrator.  Returning to Missouri after living abroad, he entered the art world through his first non-profit leadership position in his hometown of Bethel, MO, a National Register of Historic Places community. Programming experience there centered upon important folk art and traditions of the former 19th-century religious communal society. This experience ignited a passion for what the arts add to communities and how communities can thrive when the arts are at their core.  


The opportunity to move to “America’s Hometown” of Hannibal, MO, was thought to be a stepping-stone to further career advancements, however, Gaines has been the Executive Director of the Hannibal Arts Council since 1993 and hasn’t looked back…or moved on!  He has also served as the Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies, a statewide organization serving community arts agencies, since 2005.  Gaines proudly serves as board advisor for the Missouri Artisans Association dba Best of Missouri Hands.


Gaines is an avid art collector with over 300 2-D and 200 3-D works in his collection.  “I might have an addiction!”  



Lawrence OliversonLawrence W. Oliverson

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Larry Oliverson has an extensive background in the world of art festivals and the arts. As an exhibitor, he is an internationally active artist whose fine art medium is photography. By invitation, he has traveled three times to Cuba to work with the Cuban photographic community. He assisted IACP (International Arts & Crafts Promotions), the nonprofit producer of the first Yokohama International Open-Air Art Fair, was the keynote speaker at the first event and has had three exhibitions in Japan. As the director of Global Artist Exchange, he arranged for five Chinese artists to exhibit at the Lakefront Festival of Arts at the Milwaukee Art Museum. He has been an invited speaker at IFEA, the International Festival and Events Association. Oliverson's photographs are included in museum, corporate, and private collections throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan.


At the Milwaukee Art Museum, Oliverson has served on the Exhibition Committee, on the Board of Trustees, as President of the Friends of Art, and as co-chair of the Lakefront Festival of Arts. As President of the National Association of Independent Artists, he served as an advocate for the needs of artists, organized and presided over numerous director conferences, and was instrumental in the development of ZAPP®, the leading online application system used by art events nationwide. He has been an advisor and consultant to numerous events on most aspects of show production.


Jennifer PerlowJennifer Perlow

Denver, Colorado


Jennifer Perlow has 20 years of experience in the arts — most recently through PS Gallery, H&P Consultants, and LewisGraham Art Consultants. Currently, she is the founding Principal of PS Art Consulting, where she helps her clients bring their spaces to life by finding art for them. She works with healthcare facilities, corporate offices, and curatorial clients. Through her passion for the arts, she has built a national network of artists through which she can find whatever her clients are looking for to create exceptional spaces that fit their tastes and resources. Perlow’s degree in psychology from The University of Missouri-Columbia helps her to develop trusting relationships with both artists and clients. Perlow is a dedicated advocate for the arts and has served on numerous art-related boards.


She has juried various national festivals and shows over the last 20 years, including Madeley National Juried Show, Des Moines Art Festival, Sausalito Art Festival, Western Spirit Art Show, St Louis Art Festival, and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival.