3 Steps to a Winning Exhibition Proposal

So you think you’ve got the artistic chops to create your own unique art exhibition. How do you prove it to the gallery owners and curators who will potentially be showing your work? Writing exhibition proposals for shows is an extremely valuable skill to have as an artist. You don’t necessarily need to be a great writer to write an exhibition proposal – the most important thing is that you have a clear idea of what you want the show to be like, and how you’re going to execute it


1) Describe the Artwork


What is the body of work that you’re showing? Is it a series of paintings? Sculptures? A room-sized installation? A time-based performance? Give a very clear description of exactly what you plan on putting in the gallery, and take into accout the space itself and how the work will fit inside the builing. Be sure that the type of work you are planning on producing fits in with the type of work that the gallery normally shows. Even if you haven't produced all of the work yet, you need to have a clear idea so that the gallery owner will know exactly how it will work. Minor changes that come about in the process of creating the work can probably be negotiated.


A typographic brainstorm of art ideas


2) What is the Concept?


Why are you grouping these particular works together, or why does this one installation or performance warrant a public viewing? You need to have a good grasp on the conceptual ideas behind your artwork and behind the show, and be able to articulate them. Is it a solo show, or are you entering with a group of peers? Is the work exploring the formal possibilities of a particular medium, or is it more centred around a certain subject or issue? These are all good questions to ask yourself while you are brainstorming.


3) A Catchy Title


While not every art show has to have a title, almost all group shows and most solo shows do - it helps to introduce the audience to the work, and start a conversation. Even if you do not want to be terribly overt about the meaning behind your works, a title can help to bring everything together - like a nice bow on a well wrapped gift!



If you make sure to include these three key points in any exhibition proposal you write, you'll be at least a step closer to ensuring you get that gallery show. Remember to be confident in your work an you concept - if you know it's going to be an awesome show, it'll be that much easier to sell it to the curator or gallery owner.


Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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