Tips on Submitting Work Samples to Museums and Galleries
Most visual artists would like to exhibit their work. North Carolina is fortunate to have a number of venues across the state, but finding appropriate spaces for your work and persuading them to show it can be daunting. Many guilds and artist organizations offer opportunities for their members to exhibit. Other spaces organize juried shows to attract work from a certain region or address a theme or range of media (see Juried Competitions). Some visual arts organizations issue calls for slides annually or at defined intervals to determine candidates for their upcoming schedule of exhibitions. These opportunities are usually publicized on their web sites, with preferred methods for submission spelled out.
Most organizations, however, have a less formalized procedure for considering work. If you plan to submit unsolicited images to a museum or gallery for review, consider the following:
Finally, and somewhat redundantly, always be polite. More than just securing an exhibition opportunity, you are trying to build a relationship. The odds are that, with any given submission to a gallery, it won't result immediately, or perhaps ever, in a show for you there. But you have succeeded in presenting your work and yourself to the curator; he or she should now be on your mail and e-mail list for news about shows you're having at other spaces. And curators do talk to one another. The overture you make to one gallery may lead to an opportunity at another, unexpected venue. A rejection is only personal or final if you take it that way. It may in fact be the beginning of something quite positive.