There are many art organizations that regularly host shows. There seems to be a good deal of confusion as to the way these art shows are judged and how to explain the judging process. I judge quite a few shows so I thought it might be helpful to clear up the confusion. Almost all of the local shows sponsored by art groups are competitive in nature. Artists are competing for ribbons and recognition at some and actual monetary prizes at others.
A judged show is one where every piece that is entered appears in the show. The judge does not put together or curate the show. The function of the judge is to choose the award winners. Many of the judged show are short in duration, often just hung for one day.
A juried show is one that is essentially pre-judged. The judge will choose which pieces will be hung and which will be declined; this process is referred to as jurying. Most local juried shows are chosen from the actual work. Sometimes there is a space limitation at the show venue and only a certain number of pieces can be accommodated. A judge may also reject work that does not conform to the show rules or work he feels is sub-standard. Once the judge has determined which pieces will make up the show, he can then decide which work to award.
Often very large shows are juried from slides or digital entries. There may be a panel of judges making decisions. In this type of show awards are typically chosen after the selected pieces are hung at the show venue. There can be a separate judge just for awards.
Most groups chose qualified judges from a pool of professional artists, art instructors, and museum curators. Art is subjective and each judge has his own criteria for choosing what to award. Try to remember that being included in a juried show means that you have already won something; your work was chosen to be worthy. An award here is just icing on the cake!