The Wallach Art Gallery accepts exhibition proposals that are related to the curriculum or research interests of the university community. Exhibitions of works by living artists are considered only when they are the focus of research at the university or when they are organized in collaboration with the Division of Visual Arts. Before submitting an exhibition proposal, please read the guidelines to determine that the project is appropriate to the gallery's mission. If you would like to discuss your proposal with a member of the gallery staff, please call (212) 854-2877.
Guidelines for submitting exhibition proposals:
The Wallach Art Gallery functions to complement the educational mission of the university, with most of its exhibitions being conceived as an integral part of the art history program and reflecting the interests and current research of its faculty and students. In addition, exhibition proposals on all topics in art and architecture are welcome from any faculty member or graduate student at Columbia, whose research interests relate to visual culture, and from persons or organizations outside Columbia whose projects can be seen as enriching the academic program at the university.
Exhibitions of works by living artists are considered only when they are the focus of university research or when they are organized in collaboration with the Division of Visual Arts. Proposals submitted by Columbia faculty may be either an independent project or in relation to a graduate or undergraduate seminar. Graduate students may submit proposals that are either an outgrowth of their dissertation research or an independent research project, for which course credit may be possible. Before submitting a proposal, a graduate student must have the approval of the faculty adviser who agrees to serve actively as a consultant throughout the preparation and realization of the project.
Remuneration for curatorial work is generally not possible.
A proposal should consist of:
- A written statement (no more than 750 words, double spaced)
- A representative sample of reproductions of works to be included in the exhibition (slides, digital images, photographs, photocopies)
- A completed proposal worksheet
The statement should be a clear and concise overview of the topic of the exhibition, its scholarly thesis, its rationale, its significance to the state of the research, and its appeal to a non-specialist audience. Indicate how (a) the methodological approach relates to the state of the research and (b) the works selected for exhibition contribute toward advancing the thesis. Specify the works or types of works to be included and provide information on their location and the feasibility of borrowing them.
The proposal should describe the scope of any projected publication, including the content, the approximate word count, and the number of illustrations (both color and black-and-white). Lastly, the proposal should include a note on the background and qualifications of the curator and on the relation of the proposed exhibition to the curator's current research or work. Please keep in mind that the statement should convey the feasibility of the exhibition and at the same time should explain its scholarly aims. Discuss how the exhibition is to be organized (e.g., chronologically, thematically, stylistically). In contrast to a dissertation proposal or a journal article, this statement should focus on specific works or groups of works and their contribution to the concept of the exhibition.
Proposals are reviewed on an ongoing basis by the Wallach Art Gallery Steering Committee, composed of art history faculty, students, the gallery's director and assistant director, and representatives from other units of the university with an interest in the arts. Some factors to consider in preparing a proposal:
- The gallery space consists of five rooms, two large and three small, a total of 2,300 square feet, 300 running feet. For small exhibitions, not all rooms need be used (download a PDF plan of the space).
- Each exhibition should be accompanied by a publication. This can vary in scope, from a modest brochure to an illustrated catalogue.
- The amount of time between acceptance of a proposal and the opening date of the exhibition is at least one calendar year; significantly more time will be required if a catalogue has an extensive text or if loans are to be obtained from institutional lenders.
- All accepted proposals are contingent on adequate funding. Funds in the gallery's budget are available to cover exhibitions with modest expenses. Most projects, however, require external funds to be raised from a combination of government, foundation, corporate, and private sources. Applicants are expected to identify fundraising sources and to participate in the solicitation of funds. The success of fund-raising efforts will ultimately determine many aspects of the final project, including the size and scope of the exhibition and the related publication.