2016 American Gourd Society Artistry Award

 by Bonnie Gibson

Award History:  In 2015, the American Gourd Society board voted to assume oversight for the "Excellence in Gourd Artistry" award that was established in 2014 by Arizona Gourds.  Because there are thousands of art entries in many different AGS gourd shows, this special award serves to encourage and recognize some of our fantastic artists and their beautiful gourd creations.  Current committee members are Bonnie Gibson (Chair), Phyllis Sickles, Kristy Dial, and Judy Richie.  The winning entry receives a cash award of $300; it is hoped that with donations from membership and gourd chapters, we can sustain this award and possibly expand it to awards for 2nd and 3rd places in the future.



The American Gourd Society and the Artistry Award committee expresses sincere appreciation to those chapters and individuals who support the AGS Artistry Award through their donations. Your support will keep the Award as strong and vibrant as the gourd community that continually inspires us. 

  • A donation of any amount will be appreciated.  
  • You can do so via the PayPal link below or by mailing a check made payable to AGS. 
  • For those choosing to send a check or money order, please write Donation to Artistry Award in the check memo line. Checks should be mailed to our Treasurer, Cheryl Trotter 5135 Meadowlark Lane, Katy, TX 77493-2125 
  • AGS is recognized as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization which means your donations are tax deductable

How the award works:   Entry requirements : The piece must be entered in an AGS sanctioned competition, and it has to win either a People's Choice award, Best of Show, or be entered into a non-judged Grand Masters category (open to those who have won those awards in previous competitions) in order to qualify.  In addition, since this is an AGS sanctioned award, the entrant also had to be a current member of the American Gourd Society.

In the past, there are people who qualified for entry but either did not know of the contest or did not send in their work for consideration.  We are hopeful that state societies will promote this award by encouraging their eligible winners to enter.  Either show chairmen or the winners may submit entries by sending in up to three photos of the winning piece with a bit of information about how the piece was created and brief bio information on the artist.  We require photos that are of the largest size possible for quality reproduction in the magazine, and photos without award ribbons are preferred.

For 2016 - Multiple entries from a chapter are allowed when they are received from two or more separate events.  Some states are so large geographically, that they hold more than one sanctioned event in a calendar year.  Winners from multiple chapter shows will be accepted, as long as the shows are judged using AGS standards.

There should only be ONE Best of Show entry from each show.  Some chapters are using "Best of Show" designations instead of awarding a "Best of Division".  (In the future, the show chairmen might consider either changing the title of their awards, or having their show judges select which of the division entries should be submitted as "Best of Show".)  In 2016, only ONE Best of Show entry will be allowed from each event.

Not every show currently offers a "People's Choice", or its equivalent.  A People's Choice award is a "popular choice" award determined by voting from the general public instead of judges.  State chapters might want to consider adding this award if they do not already offer it.

Non-judged Grand Masters is a category reserved for those who have won a Best of Show or People's Choice in previous shows, or are at a high level and consistently show their works in art galleries.  This category allows them to display their work at a show outside of competition.

Judging:  To maintain impartiality and to make the voting as fair as possible,  the judging is done by 2 gallery owners who are also (non-gourd) artists themselves, and by 3 members of the Artistry Award committee, who are nationally recognized gourd artists who were appointed to the committee by the AGS.  Each judge sees a private web page with photos of each entry and information about the construction of the piece (if provided by the entrant).  Each entry is identified only by a letter designation, and all judging is done independently from the other judges.  The committee chair does not vote, but tabulates the results from the 5 judges.  Low and high scores for each piece are discarded, and the middle three scores are added for each piece to decide the final scoring.

If you have comments or concerns about the competition, please contact the committee chair, Bonnie Gibson, at bonnie@arizonagourds.  We welcome your suggestions for qualified gallery judges or professional level gourd artists that might wish to judge or serve on the committee in the future.

Winners are responsible for sending in qualifying entries. The deadline for submission is December 1, 2016. You may send in your entries at any time as soon as the event is finished. Entries submitted to date: 0 There have been several shows already please send in your entries now!

Show Chairs, please urge, push, nag etc. your Best of Show and People's Choice award winners to submit their winning pieces for this AGS award. If your show has a designated photographer, ask him or her to photograph these gourds specifically for entry in this contest. If possible, have the judges include  a note on the winner's entry card reminding them to submit it for the award. (Or attach a copy of this article.) Help promote your show and its winners by getting them to enter the 2016 Excellence in Gourd Artistry award.

To enter in 2016, send in up to 3 photos of the winning entry.  The photo should focus on the art; ribbons are not important and should be left out of the photos if possible.  LARGE digital files are the best and reproduce better for publication, plus the judges can better see the quality of your piece.   Please include a brief paragraph or two about yourself and your piece, and indicate at which show the award was won and what award it received.   (The judges will only see the photos and a short description of the gourd construction.)  You may send your photos by email to: bonnie@arizonagourds.com.  Please do not embed the photos into the body of the email or in a pdf, send them as a jpg photo attachment.   You may also mail your entry, but because printed photos must be scanned, the quality will not be as good as an original digital file.  To mail in entries, please send them to:

Bonnie Gibson, Artistry Award
5930 N Camino Arizpe
Tucson, AZ 85718-4612

Winners and/or Show Chairs are responsible for sending in qualifying entries.  The deadline for submission is December 1st, 2016. You may send in your entries at any time as soon as the event is finished, and we encourage you to send them as soon as possible!

© 2016 American Gourd Society, Inc. All rights reserved. The American Gourd Society is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.