Curators organize exhibitions for museums
Curators organize exhibitions for museums, galleries, corporations, and public spaces and are the go-to connection for exhibiting your work. They very rarely pick an artist out of the blue, so knowing how to catch their eye might feel a little daunting.
There is no one formula for attracting their attention, but there are a few things you can do to put yourself on their radar and be prepared for opportunities.
Curators aren’t just interested in your work, they’re interested in what you’re trying to convey. A museum might pick a theme for a block of
exhibitions and will be more likely to consider your works if it fits within it.
Think about your point of view as an artist and how your work aligns with that point of view.
Does your work have a political or personal tone? How does the aesthetic or your techniques stand out? Piece together a comprehensive story that covers your position and fine tune it through practice. Tell the story a million times (at least) to friends and family.
Put together a submission kit and make sure to include your story. A submission kit can include an artist biography, a letter of intent, an artist statement, and a list of your exhibitions. These should be living documents. Revisit them at least twice a year to make sure they are still accurately portraying you and your work.
Invest in high-quality images of your work. Your website is the obvious first choice for use but also think about having these images ready for press, social media, and submissions.
A traditional option is to put together a printed catalog of your work based on theme or content. Make sure to include dimensions, materials, and date for every piece. A curator will keep printed catalogs on hand for reference when putting together an exhibit.
An easy way to catalog your artwork with all the essential information is by using a system like Artwork Archive, an online inventory management system that organizes your artwork and gives you the ability to export your collections for curators.
Nothing draws attention like press coverage.
Having an exhibition covered or an artist profile published is an excellent way to market you and your work to a wide audience. Once you get it, brag about it by adding a section on your website, share links on social media, consider including selected press with your catalog or artist CV.
Museums and galleries are a business too and they have their own goals to meet.
Prove to curators and galleries that your work will help them meet their objectives by showing that you have a fan base who is interested in your work. Build a following on social media or think about post a hashtag with an exhibition so that you can track postings. Reach out to previous exhibitors for attendance statistics during your exhibition.
Who you know will make all the difference. Connect on social media and in real life at events and conferences with curators and collectors. Studio visits are a great way to introduce them to you and your work and build a personal relationship.
Find the curators you’re interested in attracting and find an event to bump into them at. Check your personal network six degrees of separation style and get an introduction to curators who interest you. Put your energy where it counts, don’t chase establishments that exhibit sculpture if your medium is paper.
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