The fundamental elements of an exhibition proposal
To get your art in front of more people, you need to impress a gallery owner with a successful exhibition proposal. Gallery owners have many options for exhibitions, so your submission should stand out among other artists. Writing proposals that both get their attention and highlight your creativity can help you highlight the value of your exhibit theme or concept.
Note: Ready to create your first art exhibition proposal? Download the Bonsai template today.
After the completion of a body of work, the exhibition is done. This is a way that an art-loving audience gets to know about the artist and the artist’s collection.
Your exhibition proposal template should outline the most important aspects of your project. For example
- The inspiration behind its creation
- The subject
- The materials
- The size dimensions of your artwork
Your proposal should stand out and make a compelling argument. Some curators take a whole day to look at proposals every few months, so your work must grab their attention quickly!
How to write an exhibition proposal form
When it comes to writing and submitting a winning proposal, you should first understand the museum or gallery's submission requirements and deadlines. Using a proposal template can help you document important information in a professional and organized manner.
Whether a gallery of images, a sculpture collection, or something else, appealing to a curator is vital for securing exhibitions.
Research community spaces for the exhibition first
Having clear options in front of you will help you refine your process for submissions, so get an idea of the places in your community accepting submissions. There are many traditional and alternative spaces available today. Traditional gallery spaces, for example, might use a curator to select exhibitions.
Alternative spaces might be more focused on giving a voice to marginalized or underrepresented voices, which are good fits for emerging freelance artists or students.
Coffee shops, music venues, and more are examples where an artist can represent their style and impact the public with less competition involved. For example, Cleveland Public Art has many opportunities for artists of all kinds to get their artwork featured beyond just gallery settings.
Go one step further by building a relationship with these galleries and program managers. From attending events to reaching out over email, it's best if the curators and other parties involved have heard of you before you make your first formal submission. This is also your chance to confirm that the exhibition requests and date details on their website are accurate. Too many proposals get denied due to not following instructions, which is an easily avoidable mistake.
How to write an art proposal for exhibition
To start with, it is essential to focus your attention on what is important to the gallery and what your work can do for them. Once this is done, you should start drafting your artist brief and proposal. If you feel stuck on getting started, research art exhibition proposal samples to get inspired.
Although each gallery owner might ask for slightly different information, it's best to cover all your bases. In general submissions, you should include the following information:
- Details about the artist or person responsible for creating the work in question
- Anywhere else these pieces or the artist has been represented or accepted
- The techniques used in the body of work
- Names of anyone who has completed a review of the work or collection
- Examples of the media and explanations about the mediums used
- An artist statement about the inspiration for the work itself
- Special installation needs/support required for the art
Creating an exhibition proposal sample with Bonsai
Although there's a lot to include in your submission when you're interested in getting your art featured, you don't have to start from scratch. Using a standard template will make it easier to record the most important elements without worrying about missing anything.
Further, you'll be able to submit a professional-looking format that makes it easier for the recipient to evaluate.
Work through the template one step at a time to document all the most important information. You'll save yourself time formatting or creating these documents while increasing your chances of getting your artwork exhibited.
Create your custom exhibition proposal template with read receipt notifications, estimates, and e-approval now!
How to evaluate gallery requirements before you submit
Each museum or curated space owner might evaluate exhibitions differently. As such, read through any specific requirements. Once you've created your proposal template, use that as your base for submitting to a gallery owner by supplementing any additional information required by that location. For example, some museums might say, "the following criteria must be addressed."
Others might ask for more contemporary approaches like a video submission. Make sure that your proposal matches their list before you submit it.
Other things to watch out for with proposals:
- Whether a curatorial statement must be included
- Whether an organization-specific exhibition proposal form must be submitted in addition to your template proposal
- If only certain kinds of art are accepted, such as group exhibitions or visual arts
- Whether there are only some times of year exhibition proposals are reviewed
Now that you're ready to submit, have someone else look the exhibition proposal template PD over to confirm that you haven't made any mistakes and the language reads clearly. As the Cue Art Foundation shares, uncomplicated language in your art proposal is best.
How to follow up with your exhibition proposal
Follow up with your galleries after a reasonable period, such as a month. If the curator or owner responded and gave you a timeline they'd need for a review period, note that on your calendar as a reminder to circle back.
You might follow up by simply saying, "I wanted to check back in regarding the status of the proposal sent in on (Insert date here.) If you need any further information from me, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you."
Exhibition proposal template FAQs
1. Do I need to include preferred dates?
If you have specific goals for when your art would be featured, share this in your proposal as well. Another reason to include dates is if you're submitting for rolling submissions but would like your art to appear in a certain month or season. While including these requests doesn't guarantee it will be honored, it's much easier to ask to see if your wishes can be accommodated.
2. What other templates and documents might I need after I submit?
In the best-case scenario, a curator will select your art. If this is a paid gallery opportunity or your work will be available for sale, you'll want to have an event invoice template, artist contract, or artist invoice template at the ready. Having these templates prepared in the same style as your accepted exhibition proposal highlights your professionalism.