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'How To Be An Artist: Exhibition Applications'

Exhibition Applications

In a lot of respects this is a very similar process to that of applying for funding (see my previous post ‘Funding Applications’ ). It is something that a professional artist will have to go through constantly during their careers as a way of getting their work ‘out there’. It is important to know how to successfully complete exhibition applications to the best they can possibly be. There is a lot of competition in both funding and exhibition applications so making sure that all the information required is provided in a clear, concise way.

The exhibition selection panel will want to know what you are submitting, what size it is, what it’s made of, what it’s about, how much would it be on sale for, if there’s a theme to the exhibition how does your work fit in with that theme and whether you have the correct insurance. They may also want to know whether you have exhibited before and, if so, where.

As with the funding application it would be a good idea to have an up-to-date artist statement about you and your most recent, relevant work. This can then be adapted to suit various applications. Having the bones of a statement will help you in the long run and make the application process a whole lot easier and less stressful.

It would also be recommended to get some high quality photographs done of your work. Ideally you should have some quality images that are compressed which can then be submitted online. Make sure that all your images are labelled correctly when doing this. A lot of places will ask that your files are named in a specific way. Make sure you follow their instructions. If you don’t it will make you look lazy and like you aren’t taking the application seriously. With plenty more artists fighting for a place they don’t have to be so picky about excluding your application because of oversights such as this. They will be brutal and do anything to help them narrow down the choices in the early stages of the selection process. You will also need high quality images that can be printed out and sent via post if the venue so wishes. Again, make sure they are labelled correctly on the reverse and you state which end is up. It may be obvious to you but it might not be to a panel that isn’t familiar with your work! Having a disk, flash drive or internet based file that contains all your images is a good thing to have. It means that all your files are pre-prepared, in one place and ready to go. All panels will ask for different things. Read their instructions and follow them carefully when submitting. Resize your images to their specifics and label them exactly as they ask you to. It will go a long way in making a positive difference to your application.

One thing to remember when you are applying to multiple exhibitions is not to submit the same piece of work to more than one exhibition at a time. The only time you could do this is if the dates of the exhibitions don’t overlap and the work isn’t going to be up for sale. If you submit the same piece to two exhibitions and both applications are successful you are going to have to let down one of the venues and this won’t look good for you. The majority of places will want you to submit the work that would be exhibited and they won’t accept replacements.

To help keep track of your work I have found that creating a database of your work to be an extremely useful tool. If you have a lot of work and work exhibited in multiple places it can be easy to lose track of what is where and for how much it is up for sale etc. It is also a useful tool to have when it comes to submitting applications as you have all the information you need about each piece listed in front of you. It might seem like a lot of effort but really once you have put it together it will save you a lot of time and takes no time at all to keep updated as long as you keep on top of it. The database can be just a simple list with the title of the work, a brief description, the dimensions, the price, where it is located, and whether it has sold or not. Doing this will also make it easier when it comes to submitting your tax returns. All your artwork details will be readily available to you and all your sales are listed together in one place. I may touch upon this at a later date in a separate post so keep an eye out for that.

Again, I hope this post will be of some help to you and if anyone has any comments then feel free to post. Any comments will be greatly appreciated as always.

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