How to Submit Work to an Art Gallery


All professional artists get to a point in their careers when they must submit work for review by galleries, museums and potential retailers. You should plan well in advance for this stage of your career, and repeatedly comb over your materials and edit them several times before finalizing your submission package. Don't expect to hear back from the gallery right away. Reputable galleries usually have a high volume of submissions to review and may take several weeks or longer to respond.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Professional portfolio
  • Artwork
  • Digital images/CD/slides
  • Cover letter
  • Artistic statement
  • Proposal (optional)
  • Business card
  • Research the art gallery's website for information on submission procedures. Read any listed guidelines, submission requirements and policies carefully, and follow them. If the website doesn't list guidelines, proceed with the following steps.

  • Answer any questions requested on the gallery website. Galleries like the Sharp Art Gallery require contact information and a short biography, and other galleries request an email with a link to your website where they can view your work.

  • Gather your best work in a professional portfolio. Choose pieces you think will appeal to the particular gallery to which you're submitting. If you're preparing a hard copy of your portfolio, consult a guide for proper layout. Some galleries take only digital portfolios, and others take hard copies or digital submissions.

  • Place images of 10 of your recent works on slides or in digital format on a CD. Save digital images as JPEGs, and ensure they're MAC and PC compatible. Re-size images to 600 dpi at minimum to ensure high-quality viewing, and name the image files so that your last name, the piece's name and the year you created the piece are clear. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope so the gallery can return your submission.

  • Write a cover letter introducing yourself and why you think your work is a match for the gallery. Include an artist's statement and detail your process and work's background in about 500 words.

  • Write a proposal only if the gallery requests exhibition proposals. Include an overview of the concept behind your proposed show, number and nature of works included, its timeline and installation details.

  • Mail the gallery a marketing package that includes your cover letter and portfolio. Allow several weeks before following up with a phone call.

  • Visit the gallery in person if you'd like to cold call instead of submit a portfolio. Dress well, check the gallery schedule ahead of time to make sure you aren't interrupting a busy event. Ask to speak with the director, and explain why you think your pieces would work well in the gallery. Leave your business card if the director is unavailable. Your card should include a website where your pieces can be viewed online.

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