How to Write an Exhibition Description

Tips from Layl McDill

A lot of times the exhibition description or sometimes called a “show proposal” is pretty short and basic.  There are two main things they want to know- the theme of the show and what will be in it.  They want to know about how many pieces you will have, what sizes, and how they will display- on pedistals or walls.  It’s a good chance to show that you know what their space is like – for instance if they have a hanging system you can assure them your work hangs well on that type of system (this always matters for me- some of my pieces just don’t work on those systems but I a lot does even though it looks like it wouldn’t).  If there is something unique about their space you can talk about how you would use it.

Then talk about the theme of the exhibit.  A lot of times this will seem repetive to your artist statement but try to be more specific in a way that fits with the gallery – for instance if you are generally about nature and the gallery is in Wisconsin maybe you talk about how you will highlight state parks in Wisconsinn or something like that.  It’s important to show that you are going to put on a show specific to them if possible.

Also if there are any community engagement opportunities that you can offer this is a good place to add that: workshops, demos, artist talk etc.


Here is my basic show proposal I am using right now but I would add specifics about a space if I can:

My body of work is both small sculptures, and multi-part wall pieces which can be up to 12 feet in length. My current goal is to continue creating large scale works on the theme of story elements which I would like to display along with freestanding pieces in an upcoming exhibit that would be filled with the familiarity of story but experienced in a completely new way.  My work also lends itself to community engagement.  In the past I have had workshops and  scavenger hunts to go along with my exhibits, and story writing by students inspired by a field trip to my exhibits.  I would love to do any or all of these events or a new concept to go along with an exhibit of my work.