The Jury System
From the beginning, the strong emphasis on quality crafts was upheld by the resident craftsmen, who were jury members for the gallery. "The craftsmen had to agree that a craft belonged in the gallery," said Dick Wissler, Frog Hollow's first resident artisan. "We didn't want to sell three dollar candles next to six hundred dollar pieces. The intention was to keep the quality of the work at a high enough caliber such that we would eventually get a reputation for being serious purveyors of good art work." Nancy Hileman, Frog Hollow's first Executive Director who also became a member of the jury remembered the process as "very interesting and a little bit unusual. It was different from a gallery or a commercial shop," she recalled. "There was a group jury system, and in that system we decided that the work itself had to be viewed. It was quite customary for juries to work from slides, but we never did. We had a very hands-on kind of relationship with the craftspeople. We would tell them why we rejected their pieces and that was not easy. The standard system is 'Yes' or 'No' and then the craftsperson is told when to pick up their work, but we felt that it was part of our obligation to tell them why we were declining their craft." Despite the intensity of the process, Hileman remembered very few conflicts.
Although the evolution of Frog Hollow has seen several different methods of holding the Jury five constants have remained:
• Frog Hollow Juried Artisans participation
• Frog Hollow gallery administration participation
• Vermont residency for admission
• A desire to find excellence in craftsmanship
• Feedback upon request for the applicant