The NEO Show marked a new approach to recognizing and presenting the art of artists living and working in Northeast Ohio. Reiterating the museum's commitment to the arts in this community—a tradition upheld for 75 years by the May Show—The NEO Show presented the quality and complexity of artistic production in Northeast Ohio with an eye toward how the achievements of artists here relate to those in other communities, regions, and nations.
Artists 18 years of age or older submitted for consideration anything that weighed no more than 1,500 pounds and measured no more than 8 x 14 x 5 feet. We welcomed every kind of art—installation, web-based, interactive, sculpture, painting, work on paper, photography, textile, dance, music, film/video, or performance—as long as the artists lived, worked, or attended school full-time in one of 15 Northeast Ohio counties.
Three jurors reviewed the submissions, winnowing a field of 1,290 applicants to nearly 200 choices. These artists then brought their actual work (or a representational part of it) to the Intermuseum Conservation Association facility in Cleveland, where the jurors reconvened, choosing 80 works of art for the exhibition.
The 2005 NEO Show illustrated the diversity of this region, underscoring the reality that no singular set of practices defines the imagination of its people. Our goal was to represent the vigor, quality, and plurality of artistic expression in our community. The originality, inventiveness, craft, and thoughtfulness of the work in this exhibition were impressive by anyone's measure.