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On to applications and proposals…

Recent installation at Oriel Davies, Newtown.

Last Friday I de-installed my exhibition at Oriel Davies in Newtown. It was a bit of a shock actually; I had worked on the site-specific piece for over 6 months and there was such a finality in it coming down. At least I didn’t have to destroy it like Liz has with some of her works! I packed up neatly in the trunk of my car and drove home pondering that old question of “what next?”

Whenever I finish a big show and am able to add another artwork to my portfolio, I do a big application send-out. People often ask me how I get exhibitions and other opportunities and since I am working on applications right now I thought I would share my thoughts (do chip in Liz!).  I am sure that many of you will know most of this stuff anyway but hopefully it is a help to others.

I have just entered into discussions for an exhibition that I am excited about because it is the first time I have been approached by a gallery and not the other way around. This is lovely and wouldn’t it be wonderful if it went that way all the time, but realistically no…it is up to you to slog through application forms, call-outs and listings.

I don’t just do applications a couple times of year either but am constantly looking into opportunities, be they for competitions or exhibitions or workshops. Signing up to newsletters is great because the opportunities come to you then! You just have to remember to apply for them; I write the deadlines on my diary, sometimes many months in advance.

Once you have identified an opportunity that you want to apply for that is appropriate for your work, you need to make sure that you provide absolutely everything that they ask for. Having sat on application review committees before, there are a lot of applications that immediately get binned because they are incomplete

A package usually consists of your artist statement, proposal, CV, image list and images (though sometimes things like budgets and bios are also requested). The most important part of any application is your images. These are going to get you an opportunity so make sure they are great. If they aren’t, get new ones. If you suck at taking pictures ask someone who can to help you (or seriously hire someone – it’s that important). Make sure that they are the sizing requested. Unless it specifies differently, I always name my images 01_lastname_title. This ensures that when the files are opened they will come up in the correct order and they are easily linked to your image list.

I hope that you have found some of this useful. It is by no means everything you need to know for applying to opportunities but this blog is just getting started and I am learning too! I would love to hear other people’s tips or tricks as well, so please share.

Some little tips that I have learned:

  • I figure that my positive return rate on applications sent out is 1 in 10. It’s a lot of applications to get results but not every opportunity is going to be right for you and your work. Keep applying ad the right ones will come through.
  • This one I just learned last week. If you are sending images or invites to someone at a gallery that is under the umbrella of a local council do not send through email. The council will have super crazy spam firewalls set up and it will never get through; so go old fashioned and post it!
  • If you find an artist that you think is great, go through their CV and see where they have exhibited before. It may be that some of these may be appropriate for your work as well.

By Alana Tyson


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This entry was posted on November 19, 2012 by .
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