Jury Process


Fine Art Fair Artist Selection

Each year, over hundreds of artists from around the world submit their proposal of images and summary of work to be juried into the Peoria Fine Art Fair - one of the top fine art fairs in the country. To select the final body of artists to be showcased, a panel of professionals with varying backgrounds in art education, history, collecting and aesthetics is gathered to score each artist’s work.

Jurors for the 2018 Fine Art Fair

Nancy Slevin
East Peoria, Il

Creative by nature, Nancy has been making and selling jewelry for 15 years across the country. Enjoying all aspects of art and expression and it’s impact on the world around us. Art teaches us to look at the world from different perspectives, a much needed lesson in our world today. “Love of Art makes the world go round”
Nancy, is also owner of Packaging Consultants, applying creative uses for corrugated packaging for industrial applications. She resides in East Peoria Ill with her dogs Kenny and Larry.

Zac Zetterberg
Peoria, Il

Zac was born and raised in Peoria. He received a BFA from Bradley University and an MFA from Arizona State University. As an artist, he primarily makes paintings and drawings. He is also a musician who plays guitar and banjo in local Peoria bands. Zac is currently the Assistant Curator of Art and Preparator at the Peoria Riverfront Museum as well as adjunct faculty in the art department at Illinois Central College.

Kristan McKinsey
Peoria, Il

Kristan is the Director of Illinois Women Artists Project, based at Bradley University. In that role, she oversees the research and documentation of female artists active in Illinois between statehood (1818) and 1980, and organizes a biennial symposium on Midwest women artists. In addition, McKinsey is President of ArtsPartners of Central Illinois and serves on the board of the Fine Arts Society of Peoria.

cKinsey earned a BA in Art History with a Concentration in Asian Studies from Swarthmore College and an MA in Early American Culture from the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware. She began her professional career in the Decorative Arts department of the Saint Louis Art Museum, where she researched, planned and executed the reinstallation of the American and European collections and 6 period rooms in newly created gallery space. McKinsey the served as Curator of Collections at the Evanston Historical Society from 1991to 1996. For 20 years, she was VP of Collections and Exhibitions at Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences and its successor, Peoria Riverfront Museum. She has served as Editor of the Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.

Jennifer Costa
Peoria, Il 

Jennifer, originally from Asheville, NC, has lived in Peoria for the past 15 years. She is a Professor of Art and Teaching Chair of the Art Program at Illinois Central College. As a maker of studio furniture, her work often combines various materials such as wood, metal and glass. Her style can be defined as a modernized version of mission, art deco and art nouveau styles. When asked about her work, she states, “My work tends to be functional, being that it’s either a table you can use in your home or a conceptual sculptural piece that begs to be played with. I enjoy working beyond the traditional boundaries of style and media when it comes to art that happens to be functional.”

Kim Armstrong
Peoria, Il

After each juror reviews all of the artists and their work, the artists with the top scores in each medium are then invited to participate. Last year’s Fine Art Fair artists traveled from 26 states and Canada with 52 first time exhibitors. 


Fine Art Fair Awards Selection

On the Saturday of each Peoria Fine Art Fair, two special judges review all of the artists’ works in person. They score everyone and determine a select group of artists to be granted $10,000 in cash awards. Merits distributed are:

  • 1 Best of Show - $3,000
  • 4 Awards of Excellence - $1,000

All award winners receive an invitation to return to the upcoming Peoria Fine Art Fair.

This year's Fine Art Fair will be the Peoria Art Guild's 56th annual fair!

The 2018 On-Site Judges

Preston Jackson
Peoria, Il

Preston Jackson is professor emeritus of sculpture at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and owner of The Side View Gallery, home of the Contemporary Art Center in Peoria, Illinois. He creates bronze figurative work and monumental steel and cast bronze sculptures as well as two-dimensional pieces. 

Jackson's work deals with his concerns about social interaction between various groups of people and is geared toward the betterment of our society. The intent of the work is to cause the viewer to see things they may not have considered before, or perhaps to examine them from a different, more universal perspective. Even if the audience does not see things from his viewpoint, he hopes to trigger some recognition of his intention, and allow viewers to address it on their own terms.

Preston’s recent sculptures deal with the subject of our history—both precise depictions of well-known historical figures as well as innovative portrayals of individuals whose lives, though unfamiliar to us, are part of our history that he wants us to learn. He seeks to honor the many people who have been left out of the visual history of our country, and to tell their stories in an effective manner that is appropriate for all.  

His latest series, “Julieanna’s Descendants: Images from the Closet Trunk”, reveals the lives and personalities of all our forbears who lived in the United States in the 19th and early 20th century.  Despite the hardships of those who had been enslaved or viewed as less than human, the pieces do not reflect bitterness or hostility, but rather an admiration for the resolution and resiliency of each individual.

Jackson's commissions include “Acts of Intolerance”, two 14’ cast bronze columns depicting the events and aftermath of the Springfield, Illinois Race Riot of 1908; “Distant Paths”, a cast bronze and stainless steel sculpture about migration at Purdue University, “Bronzeville, A Moment in Metal” memorializing the Bronzeville neighborhood in stainless steel and cast bronze for McCormick Place West in Chicago;  “From the Cottonfield to the Battlefield”  a Decatur, Illinois granite and cast bronze relief memorializing Abraham Lincoln’s decision to permit African American soldiers to fight in the Civil War; “Knockin’ on Freedom’s Door”, a 30-foot stainless steel and cast bronze piece on the subject of the Underground Railroad in Peoria, Illinois; the bronze entry and exit doors and building façade at the Cahokia Mounds Museum, “Byways to Equality”, a stainless steel and bronze sculpture about Martin Luther King’s legacy in Urbana, Illinois, a 12-foot sculpture on Wacker Drive in Chicago of Irv Kupcinet, the late Chicago Sun-Times newspaper columnist and broadcast personality;  a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Richard Pryor in Peoria, a 10-foot stainless steel depiction of a mother and her son in Peoria, a larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Miles Davis for Alton, Illinois and a bust of Fred Hampton in Maywood, Illinois.

He has been selected as a 2014 Southern Illinois University Distinguished Alumnus, was awarded two Regional Emmys and was a 1998 Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Duffy Armstrong Farrell
Pekin, Il

Duffy Armstrong Farrell is an artist with extensive experience as an arts administrator and arts advocate. She has a BFA from Bradley University and studied printmaking, drawing and photography. While a student, she worked at the Peoria Art Guild and Muir Omnigraphics doing commercial silk screening. She taught art both at the Guild and at Lakeview Museum, (the predecessor to the Peoria Riverfront Museum) where she became Curator of Education and later the Public Relations Director. Her history with the Peoria Art Guild began in 1969. During the 1980s she served on the Guild’s Board and chaired the Fine Art Fair in 1983 and 1984. In 1990, as a full-time Director of the Guild, she helped build its membership and enjoyed creating special exhibits for local artists alongside the traditional gallery exhibitions and sales/rental gallery artwork. She was involved in the Guild’s first attempt at bringing the Fine Art Fair to downtown Peoria, but the successful move to its current location didn’t occur until several years later. In 1992 she began her professional career in development with the College of Communications and Fine Arts at Bradley, raising funds for the art, theater, music and communications programs and facilities. In 1996 she helped found the Friends of Art in order to establish Cradle Oak Press, the art department master print program.  John Chamberlain, Philip Pearlstein, Hollis Sigler, Carol Wax, Wayne Kimball, Warrington Colescott, Susan Sensemann, Leonard Baskin, Robert Natkin and other renowned artists worked with Oscar Gillespie and the Friends in intimate gatherings to share their work, ideas and to help the Friends develop as fine art collectors. 

Duffy served as a juror and educational curator for Sculpture Walk Peoria for 2015, 2016 and 2017. In past years she juried the Guild’s Fine Art Fair, the Galesburg Fine Art Fair, the 34th Annual Beloit Vicinity Art Show and the Central Illinois Scholastic Art Exhibits.  She served on the Executive Committee and as a Board member of Arts Alliance Illinois from 2006 to 2017 and brought the advocacy organization’s One State conference to Peoria during her tenure.

Recently retired, she has returned to making art. Presently her work can be seen at Exhibit A Gallery in Peoria Heights and as an exhibiting member of CIAO (Central Illinois Arts Organization).

Art Enthusiasts: Be sure to return Sunday morning, to see which artists have made top honors. Enjoy a Sunday stroll along the Riverfront and see if your favorite artist has won a ribbon!