Advice on Crafting a Strong, Compelling Solo Exhibition Proposal

After a few years of accepting open call applications for exhibitions, we've decided to put together a list of tips for artists to keep in mind while putting together a proposal. While some of these are specific to our program, many of them are universal. Good luck!

  • Use simple language and avoid jargon and buzzwords. Find a friend or family member who doesn't know much about art, ask them to read over your proposal and give you feedback.
  • Start with a strong, clear sentence that succinctly articulates your idea.
  • Write directly, and avoid passive and future tense (to be/will be). “The exhibition addresses xyz.” vs. “The exhibition seeks to address xyz.”
  • Be specific when writing about your work. Don’t write about your practice generally, write about a specific project or artwork that you want to use, and make a clear, compelling case for its inclusion. 
  • Clearly describe the exhibition plan: ie. how will viewers experience the work? Think about the scale of the gallery space. We strongly recommend you come see the space before submitting your application or visit our Vimeo channel for video documentation of past exhibitions.
  • Ask questions. If a part of your proposal hinges on something related to the space: eg. hanging from the ceiling or building a false floor, send us a short email asking if it’s possible, and we’re happy to let you know. Proposals are often rejected because they aren’t realistic for our space.
  • Make sure you submit high-quality, professional images of your work. Images should be bright, clear, and photographed on a white background. The stronger your images, the stronger the proposal.
  • Think about the order of your slides. Start with the strongest, most dynamic image you have to catch the attention of the jury.
  • Follow the application instructions to the letter. Failure to follow each and every instruction results in disqualification.