ZAPP’s Guide to Equitable Jurying

Click here to download a PDF version of this guide.

Since its inception, ZAPP®—created by the regional arts nonprofit WESTAF—has been focused on creating a more equitable application and jurying experience for visual artists. Transitioning to a digital application and jury process has undoubtedly helped level the playing field for artists, while encouraging shows to adopt industry-wide practices. While this standardization helped display visual images and collect applicant information more equitably, WESTAF and ZAPP continue to seek opportunities to learn about and promote equitable best practices as part of our overall equity journey.

When it comes to jurying, the ZAPP team recognizes the importance of creating equitable and inclusive processes for selecting artists. We believe that creating a diverse jury panel that reflects the communities in which the festival takes place is critical to promoting equitable jurying. Providing clear guidelines and criteria for selection, along with transparency in the decision-making process, can help minimize bias and give all artists an equal opportunity to participate. Through our experience helping art fairs and festivals facilitate their juries for almost two decades, we have learned valuable insights on the best practices for ensuring fairness and equity in the selection process.

We’ve created this resource to share these lessons and provide questions for you to consider as you conduct your jury. We hope this information will be helpful for all event organizers looking to create an inclusive and diverse event that promotes fairness and equity for all artists.


Consider Equity from Day One

When setting up your application, it’s important to consider accessibility for all artists and identify any potential barriers to make the application process more equitable. Consider the following questions:


Emphasize Transparency

Being transparent about the entire jury process to potential applicants is key to promoting fairness and building integrity as an event. Disclose information about how your jury will be conducted. This may include:


Select Your Jurors with Intention

Consider the makeup of your jury and how you can select jurors who reflect the diversity of the communities in which the festival takes place. In this case, consider all types of diversity: race, gender, age, class, artistic discipline, etc. 

Use these guiding questions to evaluate the makeup of your jury and if there are any opportunities to better represent your community:


Addressing Bias Ahead of Time

Everyone has implicit biases and it’s important to consider how biases may show up in the jury process ahead of time. Consider the questions below and think about sharing anti-bias resources with your jurors to minimize the impact of biases while you jury.



Rethink the Traditional Jury Structure

Think strategically about each aspect of your jury process to minimize implicit bias and promote equity in the selection process. Such aspects may include:


By addressing transparency, intentional selection of jurors, and unconscious bias, event organizers can take steps to create an equitable and inclusive jury process. These steps are essential to promoting fairness and integrity in art fairs and festivals. WESTAF and ZAPP are working toward this goal by sharing our knowledge and experience through resources like this guide. For more information about WESTAF’s equity work, visit