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Art Gallery Submissions: How to Prepare and What to Send

Art Gallery Submissions: How to Prepare and What to Send

So, you’ve decided that you want to submit your artwork to a gallery. Fantastic! Although it can seem like a daunting task, creating a professional and complete submission to send to galleries is a huge step in getting your artwork “out there” and progressing your artistic career. Here are some tips for art gallery submissions.


Before you even begin gathering and preparing your materials for submission, you should make a decisive plan to streamline your effort and decide which art galleries you want to submit to. Check out Which Gallery Should I Submit To?


Once you have decided which galleries you want to submit to, take this most important step for each:

Ask the gallery what they require for an artist’s  submission

Some galleries prefer an all-electronic submission, while some insist on physical portfolios. Based on your initial research, you will need to prepare some or all of the following:

Artwork

Obviously, the most important component. Depending on what the gallery prefers, this could either be a physical portfolio of work, a thumbdrive of images, a link to a website or online portfolio, or a link to a shared folder of images. Unless a gallery requests something different, you should send 10-20 of your most recent works.

If a gallery requests digital images

  • images should be in JPEG format
  • images should be Mac and PC compatible
  • images should be medium resolution. If they are too small, the image quality will be poor. If they are too large, they will be cumbersome to view and send. The resolution you choose depends on a few factors. For example, does the viewer need to zoom in to see more details? If not, I suggest a size of 72 dpi, and approximately 2000 pixels high. If more detail is needed, increase the dpi to 300.
  • name you image files in a logical and consistent manner. Begin each file name with a number, starting with your most recent work, so that the files will automatically arrange themselves in chronological order. Here is an example of one way to title your files:

01_artistname_artworktitle_2022
02_artistname_artworktitle_2022
03_artistname_artworktitle_2021

  • include a PDF text document that includes a list of works, as well as your contact information

If a gallery requests a physical portfolio

I suggest reading “A Practically Perfect Portfolio”, an article by artist Brennen McElhaney. This gives an excellent overview of what your portfolio should look like, and offers tips and suggestions. My only note to add to Brennen’s article: depending on what kind of submission you are sending, you may or may not need a price list (for example, if you are submitting to a non-commercial venue, you should not submit a price list). If you are mailing or dropping off a physical portfolio,  include sufficient postage for the gallery to return your materials to you.

CV

The Curriculum Vitae or CV is essentially an artist’s resume outlining previous exhibitions, publications, press, and more. If you’re writing a CV, check out our Artist’s CV Templates. Skip the hassle of layout and formatting and create your own industry-standard CV with 16 different category options, plus examples of how to list each item. Included are three template options specifically for emerging artists!

You can also read further information here: How to Write an Artists CV in 10 Steps.

Don’t have much professional experience? Check out How to write an artist’s CV when you don’t have much (or any!) professional experience.

Artist Statement

Your artist statement is an opportunity to explain the background and process of the work you are including on your art gallery submissions. There is no definitive right or wrong in writing your artist’s statement, but it should be concise. 500 words is a loose guideline, but it could be less or (slightly) more.


Check out Suggestions for Writing your Artist Statement for a discussion of artist statements, as well as links to examples of statements.


A Written Proposal

A written proposal for an exhibition is only necessary if you are submitting your work to a gallery that explicitly requests exhibition proposals, not just artist portfolios. If you are seeking representation by a gallery, you do not need to have a written exhibition proposal.

The difference between an artist statement and a written proposal is that your artist statement focuses on your artwork and practice in general, and a written proposal is a specific plan for an exhibition. A written proposal should include:

  • a brief overview of the concept behind the show
  • number of works and description of works to be included
  • a rough timeline
  • specifics of installation
  • short biography of the artist(s) and if applicable, curator(s) involved

Follow-up on your art gallery submissions

Much like a job interview, it is professional to follow up on your art gallery submissions if you have not heard back. If the gallery does not give you a time-line for reviewing your submission, wait at least two weeks. Depending on the amount of submissions they receive, it could take much longer to review your work. It is best to be as polite and non-invasive as possible, and I suggest emailing instead of calling. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to be pushy—in most cases, this will hurt your chances.


For additional information on this subject, check out the Do’s and Don’t’s of Submitting Artwork to a Gallery.


32 responses to “Art Gallery Submissions: How to Prepare and What to Send”

  1. Just discovered your site. Great advice, keep up the good work 🙂

  2. so much fantastic information on here, : D.

    • Thanks Brennen, good suggestions, especially if you are sending materials to a large number of galleries!

    • Hi Brennan – what do you mean by a cover? Is that a cover letter with image ??

  3. Donghyun Kim says:

    Thank you for the great information!
    I also have extra questions which is..

    1. When I send my art works by email to the gallery, am I allowed to try two galleries at same time?

    2, if yes for Q#1, what happens if both galleries I applied, they say yes for my works?
    Does gallery accept the apology from me that I am canceling the submission?

    3. Some galleries want me to put current prices of my works. However this is my first time and I don’t even know the value of my works. What do I have to do..?

    4. Do galleries answer me back by Email or phone..? If their reply is about they want to exhibit my works, then do they tell me necessary informations for exhibition by email too?

    5. Is there any time contract for exhibiting works? For instead, if I have contract with a gallery then, my art works must be hung on the wall of galleries and I don’t have a right to get my art work back till contract is finished?

    • Hello, and thank you!

      1. Yes, but if you know that more than one gallery is considering your work, you should let the other galleries know as a courtesy.
      2. Hard to say. You might avoid this by letting the galleries know up front that you are soliciting your work to multiple galleries. Also depending on the galleries, you might be able to say yes to both!
      3. There are many articles online discussing how to price artwork. My simplest suggestion would be to find artists similar to you (similar exhibition history, similar experience) and use them as reference points. My articles about pricing artwork can be read here http://thepracticalartworld.com/2011/09/10/what-is-your-market-value-strategies-for-pricing-your-art/ and here http://thepracticalartworld.com/2011/08/29/editioned-prints-and-photographs-how-many-what-value/
      4. Each gallery will be different, but once you are in a dialogue with them, you can ask them for the information you need it they haven’t already provided it.
      5. Some galleries will use a system similar to this, some won’t. Each is different.

      Best of luck finding a gallery that works for you!

      • Donghyun Kim says:

        Thank youu 🙂

    • Nessa Abdollahi says:

      good questions!

  4. I am so grateful for your blog article.Really thank you! Fantastic. eceeabfkaeca

  5. Nessa Abdollahi says:

    very useful.

  6. I want to post my artiste work frax by pencil coz they have the originality of drawing

  7. Wonderful website you have here but I was curious if
    you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get
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  8. Thanks for another informative blog. Where else could I am getting
    that kind of information written in such an ideal approach?
    I have a undertaking that I am just now
    operating on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  9. I have painted enough to start a new journey in my art career. I have been offered a solo exhibit and the info I read is very helpful.

  10. How much time on average does it take for the museum to actually get your art piece into the museum???

  11. hi iam new to this art work later on i want to submit my work to one gallery for exhibition,plz help me how many oil paintings i have to make and can i take pictures of my paintings by myself and upload it to their website.

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  13. alyousius o hare says:

    Ok so you know that guys named aloyousos o hare he made on top 10 anime deaths and I ll give you a brifef description of it so one day alylusisos hare body guards decided to kill akuyouyiuis hare the body guards decieded to strao gim down then ben came oup with his roblox word and he out right through hid should er than he is hdea t htan his bean than hissi rvDair okci deo sayd but what actua;ly haeend was this9 kid name dalex was ayouis o hare but then he got trmborn to secnodn s aette staretd haisng kidjs aroyndiw ht kos wodrds andpokig htem thweew awad udeath and his name was eli wofe because he such a good d woldes that h is last name became wolfe hw also 4begy6vyn4cj5smsh gegermannny that was what the

  14. KAREEM ONIWONLU says:

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