Artist Résumé: Recommended Conventions
Adopted by the CAA Board of Directors in February 1999; amended on October 28, 2012.
The artist résumé conventions presented here are designed primarily for use in proposals to professional venues, which can include commercial and non-profit galleries, museums, and art centers. These recommendations can also be followed when submitting a résumé for grants, residency programs, commissions, and other exhibition opportunities. The artist résumé is increasingly used as an essential element on artist and gallery websites and may also be used in publications such as exhibition catalogues. Avoid making the artist résumé complicated; it is meant to be short and simple to review. Normally the artist résumé is succinct (one to four pages in length) and is similar to the short curriculum vitae or short CV.
All artists should have a standard up-to-date résumé available; all résumés ideally should be tailored to specific purposes. Therefore, artists are advised to follow a venue’s stated guidelines for submitting résumés, including the number of pages specified.
Always keep a comprehensive master copy of your artist résumé that includes all relevant information about your career and education. The master copy can be adapted to a targeted audience by adding items in categories that are pertinent and subtracting others in categories less relevant. Also, the significance of an entry is not always evident when it occurs and could become more important later. If you take the time to document all relevant accomplishments in a master résumé, you can retain important information that may otherwise be forgotten or lost.
Institutions receive dozens of submissions per week, so keep your résumé simple and straightforward. Easy-to-read fonts and type sizes (never below 10 point) help facilitate reading. Use white space well and do not submit your résumé on colored paper. Do not use headshots, images, or colored fonts. A beautifully prepared résumé will not get you an exhibition opportunity if your art or its documentation is weak, but a poorly designed résumé could cost you such an opportunity. As technology changes, be sure to submit your artist résumé in the format that the application or guidelines specify.
A current good practice is to save your résumé as both PDF and Word files. Maintain an up-to-date copy of your résumé as a Word document because it is the easiest format to edit and update. A PDF file is the ideal format to submit with applications or for display because spacing, margins, and formatting are retained across computer platforms. If no submission directions are given, or if an institution gives you the option of sending a Word document or a PDF, you should always choose to send a PDF.
Both the résumé and the CV should list entries within each category in reverse chronological order (i.e., placing the most recent entry first and so on, with the least recent entry being the last entry in each category). Exceptions to this convention are entries without dates under categories such as Collections or Gallery Affiliation. In these cases entries should be listed in alphabetical order. Another exception to using reverse chronology is found under Education, where you should list institutions attended without earning a degree after listing schools (in reverse chronology) where degrees were earned.
Depending on your individual strengths as an artist, you may choose to rearrange the recommended order of some of the categories found below. For example, you may choose to put your exhibitions first, before any awards or honors. As a general rule, you should “play to your strengths” by placing more important, relevant, and recent information near the beginning of your résumé. Otherwise, the order recommended below is a good one to follow. (For obvious reasons, do not list category headings that are not relevant to you.)
Sample Artist Résumé (with Commentary)
List your most recent entries first, under each heading. Pagination is recommended beginning with page two. Use 10–12-point type in a standard, legible typeface. Consider typefaces such as Times New Roman, Bodoni, Baskerville, Caslon, Garamond, and Palatino. These typefaces have a wide selection of variations; e.g. bold, italic, and condensed, which would, for example, allow you to avoid the necessity of using quotation marks to indicate titles. Avoid using exotic typefaces that may detract from the content of the résumé.
San serif typefaces such as Helvetica or Arial do not provide the contrast between roman and italic forms and are usually more difficult to read.
1. Name (and Contact Information)
Name: Your name can appear in uppercase, bold, or large type—or a combination of these.
Preferred mailing address: Providing a mailing address is optional. Some artists may prefer not to include this, for security reasons.
Phone Number(s): List any numbers (work, studio, home, or fax) where you are comfortable being contacted. Some artists prefer to list their cell number as a studio number. Other artists may choose to remove their cell number and other personal address information from their résumé—especially from a website résumé or CV. Consider listing at least one phone number, so you can be easily reached.)
Email: An email address (a must!) on the artist résumé is typically a personal, non-institutional email address. When you use a personal email address, use one that looks professional.
Personal Website: Personal websites are becoming more and more essential. Providing a URL to a personal website is highly recommended.
Comments: Much of the above information is commonly included as part of an artist’s personal letterhead. If you chose to design a letterhead for your documents that includes contact information, keep it clean, simple, and easy to read. You don’t want to distract readers from content with too many flourishes. Letterheads can convey personality without overwhelming the reader.
If a gallery gives you an exhibition or accepts you for representation, they may eliminate much of the personal information in this category. They will probably remove your address, phone numbers, etc., and provide your date and/or place of birth. This is a common practice for galleries so that a potential buyer is directed to the gallery for inquiries about your work.
Comments: Dates should appear on the far left for all relevant categories following the personal information listed above (with exceptions such as Collections, Bibliography, and Publications by Author, which follow their own particular formats. See below under these categories.). List dates of academic degrees by year in reverse chronology, noting honors and/or distinctions. It is informative and may be useful to list the major or area of studio concentration, but this is optional.
|2013||MFA (candidate) in Sculpture, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
(expected graduation: May 2013)
|2010||BFA in Studio Art, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK|
|2005||BA cum laude, French, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX|
|2006||Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN|
|2004||Pont-Aven School of Art, Pont-Aven, France (summer session)|
For currently enrolled students, clearly state that the degree is pending by using the words “(pending)” or “(candidate)” in parentheses following the degree being sought. List the expected graduation date at the end.
It is not uncommon to have studied at a university or college without completing the degree. You should list these periods of study after the list of degrees earned. (See above example.)
Avoid using abbreviations when listing the names of universities, colleges, and art schools.
It is perfectly acceptable to abbreviate the names of states or not, at your discretion, but it is more important to format consistently throughout. Two-letter postal codes should be used for states, and “US” rather than “U.S.” should be used as well. When needed, however, names of foreign countries should always be spelled out.
For those artists who have attended schools outside the United States, the country should be listed at the end. Likewise, artists who attended institutions in the United States, and who are submitting résumés to recipients in other countries, should list US at the end of each Education entry.
|2012||MFA in Studio Art, Burren College of Art, Newtown Castle, Ballyvaughan,
County Clare, Ireland
|2009||BA with Honors and Distinction in Art, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, USA|
3. Grants/Awards (Grants/Fellowships, Awards/Honors, Residencies, etc.)
|1998||New York State Council on the Arts Fellowship, New York, NY|
|1991||Artist-in-Residency Fellowship, Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM|
Comments: Any of the headings (Grants, Fellowships, Scholarships, Awards, Honors, and/or Residencies) may be listed together or separately, depending on your own record of accomplishments and how best to highlight them. (For example, if you do not have any residencies, leave the category unlisted. If you have only one residency, you might decide to list it together with other awards and fellowships you have received. If you have a number of residencies, you might choose to list it as a separate category.)
4. Exhibition Record
Comments: The exhibition record may be the most important category in your résumé and should be near the beginning. If you have a more impressive exhibition record than list of awards, then list exhibitions before awards.
There are many ways to present an exhibition record. For less experienced artists, such as artists who have just completed graduate school, it is probably more useful to list all exhibitions under one heading, and indicate any that are solo exhibitions, by including “Solo Exhibition” or “Two-Person Exhibition” at the beginning of the entry, just after the date.
In listing exhibitions, include the title of the exhibition (if applicable) in italics, then the name of venue, city, and state (and country, if needed). If an exhibition catalogue accompanies the exhibition, this may also be noted with “(catalogue)” placed at the end of the entry. (See below.)
Exhibitions (includes a combined list of solo, two-person, and group exhibitions)
|2012||Solo Exhibition, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Katherine Nash Gallery, Regis Center for
Art, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
|2011||The Light of Day, Lee Hansley Gallery, Raleigh, NC|
|2007||Two-Person Exhibition, Reeves Contemporary, New York, NY (with sculptor,
|2006||Solo Exhibition, Blue Spiral 1, Asheville, NC|
|2005||100% Acid Free, White Columns, New York, NY (curated by Micaela Giovannotti)|
|2000||Solo Exhibition, Dream Life of Babies, Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA (catalogue)|
Solo Exhibitions (or Selected Solo Exhibitions, as a separate heading)
Comments: As you exhibit more, you may want to separate the categories and use both Solo Exhibitions and Group Exhibitions as headings. As your career progresses, it is likely that you will use the heading Selected Solo Exhibitions. (When you have a separate heading for solo exhibitions it is no longer necessary to include the words “solo exhibition” at the beginning of the entry as they are all solo.)
Selected Solo Exhibitions
|2007||Hot Air Sincerely, Barrow & Juarez Contemporary Art, Milwaukee, WI|
|2005||Ad Infinitum, Art in General, New York, NY|
|2004||Snow Never Melts, Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis, MN|
Comments: For artists in certain time-based media, an exhibition might be referred to as a Screening. In that case, the category heading might read Exhibitions/Screenings or Exhibitions/Screenings/ Performances instead of Exhibitions or Exhibition Record. For performance artists, the heading Performances may be adequate. Depending upon the nature of the work, an artist may use any one or any combination of headings, such as Exhibitions, Screenings, Performances, Curatorial Projects, or Collaborative Projects.
|2008||Some Things We Do Together, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY (performance in collaboration
with Clifford Owens)
|2003||RN: The Past, Present and Future of the Nurse Uniform, The Fabric Workshop and
Museum, Philadelphia, PA, (in collaboration with J. Morgan Puett)
Comments: If you work in digital art, new media, video or performance art, or other collaborative projects such as co-curating exhibitions, be sure to note whether or not the work is collaborative. If it is, develop a simple and consistent method for identifying and crediting individual contributors, as well as clarifying your own contribution. One option is to list these under the heading Collaborative Projects.
Group Exhibitions (or Selected Group Exhibitions as a separate heading)
Group exhibition entries should begin with the italicized title of the exhibition, name of gallery or venue, city, state, and country (if needed). If the exhibition included an exhibition catalogue, this may also be noted with “(catalogue)” placed at the end of the entry. If it is a juried or curated exhibition, you can list the name of the juror or curator, his or her title, institution (if applicable), and the city and state of their residence or work. In the case of prominent jurors or curators, this can be important information.
|2012||The Ungovernables: 2012 New Museum Triennial, New Museum, New York, NY
(curated by EungieJoo, [catalogue])
|2012||It’s a Small, Small World, Family Business Gallery, New York, NY (curated by
Hennessy Youngman, artist)
|2012||Neu!, Ebersmoore Gallery, Chicago, IL (catalogue)|
|2011||The Age of Aquarius, The Renaissance Society, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL|
|2005||100% Acid Free, White Columns, New York, NY (curated by Micaela Giovannotti)|
Comments: When a juror or curator has a title, it should also appear (along with their institution, city, and state) at the end of the entry. You should separate the venue, city, and state from the curator or juror listing by using parentheses (See example below.), but most importantly, be consistent!
|2012||Domestic Diaries: Photographic Viewpoints, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL (curated
by Karen Irvine, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL)
|2012||DesignArts ’12, Rio Gallery, Rio Grande Depot, Salt Lake City, UT (Juror: David
Revere McFadden, Chief Curator, Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY)
|2012||10th Annual Iowa Sculpture Festival, Des Moines Area Community College, Newton, IA
First Place (Juror: Jeff Fleming, Director, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA)
5. Commissions (if applicable)
Commissions, if numerous, may be divided into separate subcategories: Public, Corporate, and Private.
|1995||Public Art Commission, Diversity and Hope, large-scale painting (8 x 16 ft.),
acrylic and oil on canvas on panel, Charlotte Convention Center,
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts &Science Council, Charlotte, NC
6. Collections (Public, Corporate, Private)
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Paterson Museum, Paterson, NJ
Progressive Art Collection, Cleveland, OH
West Collection, Paoli, PA
Comments: List collections alphabetically under each category or subcategory. Because some private collectors prefer to maintain privacy, it is best to get their consent before listing the names of private collectors of your work. A collection listing should only be used for high profile, public or corporate collections and very impressive private collections. (Many artists list friends and family members in this section when they should be omitted.)
7. Bibliography (Selected Bibliography)
Comments: Bibliographical entries are entries of reviews, articles, books, catalogues, etc., published about you and your artwork. Critical reviews of your art and the inclusion of your work in books, magazines, newspapers, exhibition catalogues, online magazines, and in other media is important for documenting your accomplishments. After a number of publications are accumulated, consider editing the list down to the most important and relevant, and title the category Selected Bibliography.
Daniel Mendelsohn, “But Enough about Me,” New Yorker, January 25, 2010. 68.
Willard W. Wilson, “Sculpture Exhibition: Clinton Shows Region’s Best,” Syracuse Gazette,
Syracuse, NY, December 11, 1998. 42.
Utica Post, exhibition announcement with photograph, Utica, NY, Dec. 8, 1998. 12–18.
Diane Terrel, “New Work in Central New York,” Sculpture 17, no. 1 (January 1998): 63.
(Note: The above entry refers to a review or article by Diane Terrel in Sculpture magazine, Volume 17, issue no. 1, in January 1998, on page 63.) As recommended in The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), the author’s last name should come first when listed alphabetically by author in a bibliography—but since in a résumé or CV, bibliography and publication entries are listed in reverse chronology, rather than alphabetically, the preferred convention is to list the first name before the last name, as it is easier to read.
Comment: You should document interviews and/or features about your work on radio or television and enter the following information on your CV or résumé.
Jane Williams, Interview, WUWJ Radio, Utica, NY, December 9, 1998.
John Doe, “Commissioned Artwork Arrives in Charlotte,” WSOC-TV, Charlotte, NC, March 12, 1995.
Author’s first and last name, "title of article," journal title in italics, volume, issue number (if available), date published, or accessed. DOI: or the URL
For online reviews or articles, etc., the following formats should be followed, including listing date of publication. (If the publication date is not available, date accessed should be listed.) The URL may be listed at the end of the entry, at the artist’s discretion; however, links can break, and maintaining links requires upkeep.
Journals are increasingly assigning a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) to articles and reviews published online. Initiated by the International DOI Foundation (a not-for-profit member-based organization created in 1998), the DOI is an efficient means of identifying and managing digital entities. Designed not to “break” as some links do, the DOI is unique and remains unchanged even though the digital entity may move to different locations. See the Baylor University site for more information on locating a DOI. You may also find helpful information at the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) site.
To convert a DOI to a web address, add the following URL to the DOI: http://dx.doi.org/. Thus the example below becomes: http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/ijacdt.2012010103.
Patrick Lichty, “On Virtual FLUXUS,” International Journal of Art, Culture and Design Technologies, 2(1),
(January–June 2012). DOI: 10.4018/ijacdt.2012010103
Eva Diaz, “Critic’s Picks,” Artforum, February 28, 2010. http://artforum.com/archive/id=25015
Jessica Lack, “Exhibition Preview: Omer Fast, London,” The Guardian,October 2, 2009.
Stuart Low, "Rochester Contemporary Art Center features exhibit of Alison Saar art," Rochester Democrat
and Chronicle, May 11, 2008. http://www.lalouver.com/html/saar_bio/rochester.html
Comments: If you are in need of a style guide for listing articles and reviews about you, consider using The Chicago Manual of Style Online. http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html
Website Publications (for images or text published on various websites about you and your artwork)
Author (if known), "title of web page," publishing organization or name of website, publication
date (if available) or alternatively an access date. DOI: if available, or URL
Hooper Turner, “Artist Statement,” Skidmore Contemporary Art, access date: February 2, 2012.
“Image Credits,” Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, 2011. http://www.npg.si.edu/competition/site3/
Author, "title of blog entry," title of blog in italics, followed by “(blog).” date and time of blog entry. URL
Lee Rosenbaum, “Dorothy Kosinski, Phillips Collection’s Director, Named to National Council on the
Humanities (plus some musings on NEA),” CultureGrrl: Lee Rosenbaum’s cultural commentary (blog).
July 11, 2012. 11:52 am. www.artsjournal.com/culturegrrl
After a number of publications about your work are accumulated, consider editing the list down to the most important and relevant, and include them under Selected Bibliography.
8. Publications as Author (Your published writings, critical writings, reviews, blogs, etc.)
Comments: This category describes material that you have written. Artists who are also writers should use this heading (to distinguish it from the bibliography) to list books, articles, etc., written by the artist. List any art related publications you have written here, including reviews, catalogue essays, blogs, etc. Follow the same format as bibliography, except author’s (your) name is not used. (See examples below.)
“A Day in the Life: Editing and Writing for the New Art Examiner,” The Essential New Art
Examiner, Terri Griffith, Kathryn Born, and Janet Koplos, eds. (DeKalb, IL: Northern
Illinois University Press, 2011): 259–264.
“What does it mean to kill an animal in the name of art?,” Quodlibetica, Constellation #5
Death, November 2009. www.quodlibetica.com/author/jestep/
“Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures,” Modern Painters, October 2007. 105–106.
9. Teaching or Related Experience
|2009–10||Visiting Assistant Professor, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY|
|2010–12||Curator, Flood Gallery, Asheville, NC|
Comments: It is not necessary to list your entire employment history in an artist résumé; however, in the case of an individual who has taught at several art institutions, it may be useful. It may also be helpful to list related work experience. List only work experience related to art; unrelated employment does not belong on a professional artist’s résumé.
10. Lectures/Workshops (Presentations, Artist Talks, etc.)
|2012||Lecture/Presentation, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, November 8.|
|2012||“Workshop: Visual Artist Focus: Working with Galleries 101,” Lower Manhattan Cultural
Council, New York, NY, October 16.
|2011||Artist Talk, School of the Visual Arts, New York, NY, February 15–18.|
Comments: If you have lectured or given presentations or workshops, list such entries here. If there are numerous items in both categories, you may want to divide the headings into two. You should place the specific date(s) of such events at the end of the entry, with month (and date, if known) listed.
11. Curatorial Projects
|2009||5th Annual Rites of Passage, Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center,
|2003||Make it Real, co-curated with Alison Gerber, No Name Exhibitions at The Soap
Factory, Minneapolis, MN
Comments: If you have several curatorial projects you want to list, then you may want to create a separate category for these. Otherwise, they can be placed under Related Experience.
12. Gallery Affiliation(s) or Client List (for Designers)
Comment: This category can be placed where deemed appropriate, but is usually found at or near the end of the résumé. Some artists have careers that involve a close working relationship with a commercial gallery. Sometimes these working relationships are temporary or sporadic. Only list those galleries whose working relationships with you are current. Many artists go their entire career without representation, so it need not be included. Designers may want to use a category such as Client List.
Hodges Taylor Gallery, Charlotte, NC
Maryland State Department of Education, Baltimore, MD
The Children’s Learning Center, Aspen Hill, MD
13. References (optionally required)
References are not always required in an artist résumé and would typically be included only if requested. A list of references should appear either at the end of the résumé or on a separate sheet behind a cover letter. Listing three references is typical; the number is sometimes specified in submission guidelines.List only references that know you well, can speak to your strengths as an artist and the quality of your artwork, and have agreed to serve as a reference for you. List the name, title, and institution (if applicable), address, phone (office or referee’s preferred phone number), and the email address of each reference.
Jane Doe, Chair and Professor of Art, Department of Art, XXX College, City, ST ZIP
Phone: 555.555.1212 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Doe, Director, Printworks Gallery, 311 W. Superior St., Suite 105, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 312.555.1212 Email: email@example.com
Morgan Doe, artist, 1234 East Broadway, Seattle, WA, 98102
Phone: 206.555.1212 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors and Contributors
Submitted to the CAA Professional Practices Committee, Jim Hopfensperger (chair), by the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Artist Résumé and CV Recommended Conventions: Robert Tynes, University of North Carolina, Asheville (chair); Karen Atkinson, California Institute of the Arts; Heather Bhandari, Mixed Greens, NYC; Jenna Frye, Maryland Institute College of Art; Ralph Gilbert, Georgia State University; Dennis Ichiyama, Purdue University; and Clarence Morgan, University of Minnesota. Special thanks to Suzzy Sams, University of North Carolina, Asheville.