As you can probably tell, writing proposals is an important part of being a gallery curator or artist. While some people have golden pens that they use to make strong impacts, most are not quite so gifted in this area!
As a non-writer, I feel like I need to give special attention to how proposal writers structure their ideas and paragraphs.
I have learned some key tips from watching YouTube videos on how to write artistic proposals and other ways to improve your own proposal writing skills.
In this article, we will go over some easy ways to write a proposal for a art exhibition including:
Underlining major points
Using transitional words to connect one idea with another
Q&A format to ask questions about the project
Thesis statements to emphasize important points
So let’s get started writing your proposal!
Step 1 – Topic and Aims
Start by making a topic and then focus on your aim (or goal) under that topic. Your aim should be related to what your proposal is asking readers to do, such as reading or reviewing a document or pamphlet. Make sure that it is clear and concise!
Aim: Read a document/pamphlet
Directions: Check out our new exhibition! It features paintings and sculptures inspired by nature. Some examples include pieces depicting flowers, trees, and landscapes.
Create a proposal based on what it says
Writing a proposal is not just like writing any other article you want to publish – with our wonderful micro-genres, tone, and format, it’s more like writing an essay that has a thesis statement, a topic, and then supporting examples and conclusions.
Your proposal should tell someone something about your business or product. In this case, your business is being artistic and creative (the art part) and your product is the exhibition event (the g2g part). So your proposition could be “An artist created his/her own gallery show” or even “Artist creates her/his first solo exhibit at XXXX Gallery” – both of which are good proposals!
The thing about propositions is they must contain the main idea AND THE MAIN IDEA VIVIDIFLY BEEN TESTED. The main idea here is “artist creates their first solo exhibit�” so make sure that part is strong. Make it sound believable and meld into the setting of the blog post – we mentioned before how artists love having a place where they can showcase their work so add onto that by including that information in the body of the proposal.
Research the artist and show in question
As with any writing assignment, before you start drafting your proposal, you must first do some research. This can be done by looking at past work of the artist, reading their biography, and checking out their social media accounts to get a feel for who they are as an individual.
It is also important to check out their online stores or galleries that feature their artwork. It may even be possible to visit their studio if there is one available!
If possible, during your visits make sure to take time to talk to them – you want to connect with not only their artistic talent, but also how they function as people. You don’t want to invest time into writing a proposal if you aren’t confident the artist will look after you as buyers!
After having these conversations it’s time to determine if the art is saleable and accessible. If so, then great! But most likely it won’t be unless you do something about it.
Find out what the gallery is like
Before you start writing, it’s important to know how the exhibition will be run. Will there be an opening night? What time frame do they want submissions? What kind of media can I include in my proposal?
It’s also worth finding out if there have been similar exhibitions put on by the gallery before.
By knowing these things early on, you’ll be able to structure your proposals more effectively. You won’t need to edit or re-write parts that are done to a formula!
There’s no rule saying you can’t write your own proposal, but it can make your writing clearer and easier to follow.
Write your proposal based on what you would do
As we already mentioned, writing a proposal is an integral part of creating successful exhibitions. Therefore, instead of starting with a topic or bullet point, many people start with what they plan to do in the exhibition.
This can be difficult to pull off since most artists begin planning their show well before it even happens.
But if you are one of the few who does have time to prepare ahead of schedule, this can lead to wasted energy and stress. You will need to take some time to relax and focus before proposing your own show!
So rather than asking yourself what you will include in your exhibition, ask yourself what everyone else should include.
Make your proposal interesting
As mentioned earlier, creating a proposal for an exhibition is like writing a short article. You will want to make yours very engaging and entertaining!
As you prepare your proposal, think about what kind of appeal it would have in terms of content and style. Would people read all the way through due to intrigue?
Include examples of success or successful versions of the same project as well as insights from past experiences. The more clearly you can describe the vision, the better!
Keep it natural and use plain language; this applies especially to the title of the proposal as well as the body. Try to avoid using too many big words unless you are sure they fit naturally with the rest of the piece.
Identify your audience and tailor your proposal
Before you start writing, it is important to know who will be reading your proposal. Who is this piece of art intended for? There are two main groups: people with little to no artistic knowledge or experience and those that do have some. The first group can learn something new from your proposal, while the second may even get inspired to create their own artwork!
As an artist, you should always strive to inspire others to create and enjoy creating paintings, sculptures, or other forms of art. If someone without much artistic talent could look at your work and feel confident they could create similar pieces, then you accomplished your mission.
You also never know what effect your proposal might have on another person. Some individuals may find inspiration in how you presented and organized the materials. Others may admire your creativity or sense of organization. A few may even be inspired to try working on art projects themselves!
Your tone, expression, and volume all contribute to the overall impact of your proposal. When writing a proposal, stick to a level that feels comfortable and natural. Use simple language and address only necessary topics.
I’d like to share my process for organizing and presenting my recent gallery exhibition.
Before you begin writing, make sure you have done the necessary preparation! This includes checking your proposal format, finalizing your message, finding an appropriate venue to present your proposal, and gathering any needed materials or introductions.
Forming a strong relationship with your potential audience is one of the most important parts of developing your artistic voice. By creating open conversations about your art and yourself, you will learn more about other people’s opinions and what styles they admire.
By having these discussions, you will also find out if there are any specific things that need to be addressed with your artwork. For example, some may want to see less realistic depictions in your pieces, while others might desire something bolder.
By knowing this, you can create new works that fit their style and inspire them to produce newer work. While it may sound cliché, relationships built upon understanding and admiration of different artists’ work will help you grow as an artist.
Plan out your proposal
Before you start writing, make sure that you have done all of the necessary preparation! This includes defining the purpose of the proposal, determining if the other artist has given you permission to quote them, finding out what materials they will accept as gifts, and confirming their current availability.
It is very difficult to re-word or take creative liberties with someone else’s work, so be careful about plagiarizing before starting to write. There are many free online tools that can help check copyright infringement as well!
Once these things have been taken care of, then it’s time to plan out your proposal. Start by thinking about how you want to organize and emphasize the key points of the proposal. Then, determine who should get the proposal (friends and family, media members, art collectors, etc.).
Your proposer may ask you to edit or review their proposal after it is finished, which means you need to collaborate and agree on important details such as content and timing.