What is a Portfolio?
A Portfolio is an in-depth representation of an artist and their work.

What is the purpose of a Portfolio?
A Portfolio is a way for an artist to introduce others to your artwork without having to physically have the artwork available, especially when the distance between viewer and artist is vast.

What do you need a Portfolio for?

  • Transfer to a 4-year University's art program
  • Entry into a Bachelor of Fine Arts Program
  • Entry into a Master of Arts or a Master of Fine Arts Program
  • Submission to a gallery for representation
  • Submission for various job applications
  • Submission for artist grants, awards, residencies, etc.

What does a Portfolio consist of?

  • Cover Letter (when applying for a job, gallery representation, or entry into an art program, you must include a cover letter)
  • Resume
  • Artist Statement
  • Short Biography (optional depending on submission requirements)
  • Slides or digital images of your artwork
  • Slide or digital image list
  • Press packet consisting of reviews, catalogue excerpts, etc. about your work
  • Self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for the return of your materials

What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one page introduction of you and your work to the person reading it. Anytime you apply for entry into a specific program at a university, apply for a job, apply for a artist's residency, apply for a grant, apply for an exhibition at a gallery, etc. , you must include a cover letter. Basically, anytime you send out a resume for any reason, you must include a cover letter. Not including a cover letter is poor manners and you lose out on an extra chance to convince the viewer to look at your work. Not including a cover letter is a sign of laziness and tells someone like a gallery curator that you do not have good paperwork skills. It tells a curator that you will not be an easy artist to work with and that they will have to constantly phone or email you for materials. A good cover letter can make or break your shot at a gallery exhibition.

»  Writing a Cover Letter

What is a Resume?
A resume, also called Curriculum Vitae, is a summary of your accomplishments as an artist. Within your resume you list basic information such as your contact information, education and background experiences related to art. More in-depth accomplishments can be included such as: workshops attended/conducted, exhibitions you have been in such as one person shows and group and juried shows, awards, honorariums, any important commissions, collections, and any related publications.

»  Writing a Resume

What is an Artist Statement?
An artist statement is an opportunity for you, the artist, to acquaint the viewer with your artwork. It is an opportunity to tell the audience about the meaning behind the work, the materials used and issues that are being addressed without physically having to stand next to your work for the duration of the exhibition. You are not telling the viewer how to react or what to think about your work, but rather you are giving them a basic introduction to why you do what you do.

»  Writing an Artist Statement

What is an Artist Biography?
An artist biography is a quick half-page summary of your resume. A biography consists of information such as where you went to school, what degrees you have, when you earned them, if you’ve led any workshops or participated in any workshops, major exhibitions where your artwork has been exhibited and any major collections that your work is a part of.

»  Writing an Artist Biography

What is a Slide List?
A slide list is a separate sheet of paper that lists all of the slides, in order, that you have included in your portfolio. It is meant as a reference sheet for the person viewing your work, especially when they have placed your slides in a projector and no longer have easy access to the information written on the slide. A slide list contains all of the pertinent information about a work of art: the title, size, media, date (if relevant) and insurance value.

»  Create a Slide List

Writing a Cover Letter
Writing a Resume
Writing an Artist Statement
Writing an Artist Biography
Create Slides of your Artwork
Create Digital Images of your Artwork
Create a Slide List
College Portfolio Requirements
Portfolio Frequently Asked Questions
Arts & Communications Website