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Writing an Exhibition Proposal

March 23, 2010

get your art into galleries: writing an exhibition proposalJust to clarify: an exhibition proposal can be one of two things: the entire package you submit to a gallery for an exhibition, or an individual document within that package.

I’m sure there are different names for each, but this is what I’ve always known them as… sorry for any confusion!

Today we’ll be talking about the exhibition proposal, the individual document. This is probably one of the lesser well-known elements of the proposal package, but it’s very important!

You’re probaly more familiar with the statement and artist CV, which discuss you as an artist and your artwork in general.

The exhibition proposal should address details specific to the exhibit you are proposing, including any practical concerns.

Consider these questions:

  • Which art pieces will be included? (if different from your submitted portfolio)
  • How many pieces?
  • What size, or what is the range of size?
  • What is the depth?
  • What is the physical form of the work?
  • Is there a specific way you’d like the work displayed? Arrangement, lighting, or any other unusual considerations.
  • How does the work hang? (By wire, by the canvas frame, etc)
  • Is the work framed?
  • How heavy is it?
  • What type of hardware is needed? (nails, screws, reinforcements, etc)
  • For sculpture, do you need plinths?
  • For multi-media work, do you need electronic equipment or plug-ins?
  • Anything else the gallery may need to know about the physical and practical properties of your show.

These details will help the gallery’s selection committee decide if they are equipped to host your show, and also lets them know what they will need to do and provide to display your work.

Read my other articles to find out how you can get your work into galleries and learn about the other essential elements of your exhibition proposal.

  1. Hi. If you are submitting an artist proposal for an installation, what should it in include and how should it differ from the above?

    • Hey Jessica 🙂 A proposal for an installation would be mostly the same, but you would include more of the nitty-gritty practical details. What kind of installation is it? How will it be installed and where? A well-drawn diagram of your proposal would also help. You want to show the selection committee that you’ve thought the whole thing through and that you know how to implement it. Also, remember to include some installation shots of other work that you’ve done.

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