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Let's listen to some jurors, what they told about us and some suggestions for the artists

On the occasion of the tenth edition of the Arte Laguna Prize, we have decided to collect the testimonies of those who, over time, have been part – as jurors, artists or partners – of the most famous and long-lived prize in the Venetian Lagoon.
We had a chat – between Milan and Venice – with some of the former jurors of the prize, who told us the behind-the-scenes of the selection process of the artworks, what it is that calls the jurors' attention, what artists have to focus on in order to pass the selection and what they should avoid instead. Those reading this article will not necessarily be artists, but they might just want to learn more about our prize. Let us begin then from the most generic question we asked former jurors: "How does the selection of the hundreds works submitted takes place?"
Enrico Bettinello, the director of Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, told us that he spent "many sleepless nights, just like when you are on the couch watching the episodes of your favorite TV series, to find the most suitable key to selecting. In fact the works submitted are many and varied in style and technique, and it is extremely difficult to define the guidelines needed to pass the initial screening".
Luckily no sleepless nights in the selection of the works for Mario Gerosa, the editor in chief of AD Magazine; however he said "it was a very complex work, because the artworks, on average, were all interesting. I chose the works denoting an openness to current issues and contemporary sensitiveness". Artists, now listen. We asked Gabriella Belli, the director of the Civic Museums of Venice, what in her opinion is the basic requirement to pass the selection and become finalists of the Arte Laguna Prize. Her answer was: "We seek vitality and singularity, things that let us see a possibility for development in the artist's work. There is no formula to win the prize, you have to make your own artistic work with honesty and intelligence".
According to Mario Gerosa, instead, there are several requirements rather than a single one: "In addition to instant appeal that must immediately trigger something in the juror's head, the work should have something new, that is, something that does not restate what has already been seen. I would say, you have to be able to say something really new". Novelty and originality, these are the keys to unlock the selection. Gabriella Belli agrees: "The advice I would give to young artists is: be free. Trying to reach the zero level, means getting to the point where your creativity alone is working, without being tied to artistic déjà vu". Investigating the contemporary world, instead, is for Enrico Bettinello a good starting point.
But then, after the prize –  you may be wondering –  is there life? Gabriella Belli, who from Mart  Museum to Muve, has seen generations of artists grow and eclipse, ensures that "the Arte Laguna Prize is hugely important for young artists since it gives them the opportunity to exhibit in a highly visited exhibition in the city of art par excellence".

This is the first chapter in a series of interviews we have realized, and we will post them on this blog: a collection of voices telling from their point of view, how the Arte Laguna Prize has got where it is now.