If you care about the Hugo Awards' future in the Artist categories (Professional and Fan), then I highly encourage you to check out the following two blogs re: the proposed amendment by Irene Gallo and Donato Giancola: Kevin Standlee's Livejournal
and Irene Gallo's blog
). Irene and Donato are proposing Hugo Award rule amendments that, if passed, would hopefully increase the chance for an informed vote for the Hugo Artist Awards in coming years. Irene and Donato are working on amendments to provide a framework so that blind voting based on reputation-only is no longer accepted in the Artist categories. The Hugos are very diligent about making sure that written works in other categories were published in the previous year, and the two Artist Hugos are supposed to be acknowlegements for an artist's body of work over the course of the previous year. Personally, when I look at the spirit of Irene and Donato's effort here, it seems to me like they're trying to help the Hugos ENFORCE their own rules, rather than CHANGE the rules themselves. If you think about it, all of the "one-person" Hugo categories (Best Professional Editor, Best Professional Artist, Best Fan Writer, and Best Fan Artist) should ALL be subject to the same standard and should be afforded the same diligence toward the previous year's work as the other categories. I'd like to see all of these categories receive the same rules amendments, so that all of them will have the same level of diligent qualifying as the other Hugo categories. In the end, it just helps the future of the Hugos, and increases the appreciation for its recognitions.
So I'll be keeping a close eye on this discussion and hopefully lending a hand to help the process. I do care about the Hugos, and I'm grateful and very honored to be nominated in this year's awards. However, I think the process can be improved and I'd like to see it happen. You can help too. You can take part in the discussions on the blogs above (or here) and let your opinion be known, even if you don't agree. Or better yet, you can attend the Business Meetings at Worldcon in Anaheim this August, when these votes will be administered. Either way, please let your voice be heard!
If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear from you here.