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Artist Statements

An artist statement is an important and valuable tool. It can be an effective way to communicate information about you, your process and your art work for a variety of different marketing and funding purposes. Artist statements are often requested for exhibitions and performances or as support material for grant applications. There are some basic elements of a well-written artist statement that are universal and apply to all of these situations.  

Writing your statement

When approaching your artist statement always consider the intended audience and the reason that you are writing the statement.  Sometimes you will need an artist’s statement for an exhibition or performance opportunity; or occasionally you may be asked to provide one as part of a grant application process.  It is always best to pay attention to any specific guidelines for format or content that may be required. In the case of a grant application, you should also understand what types of professionals will be reviewing your work. Most grants reviews involve a small group of professionals reading many applications. For this reason it is best not submit an artist statement that is too long.  Try to write a statement that is well-structured with enough quality content to give reviewers the information necessary to score your application.  At the same time, your goal should be to create a compelling case for yourself, your creative process and your work.

Editing

Remember that the first key to developing a successful artist statement is feedback. Ask friends and colleagues to read a draft of your statement and to offer honest feedback for editing as well as to check for spelling and grammar errors. Absorb these comments and review them as objectively as possible. Incorporating the appropriate editing suggestions will help you to strengthen your artist statement and increase its effectiveness. In addition, read through the statement as a whole and make sure it has a natural flow for the reader.  You may want to add transitions or variety to your sentence structure. Remember to eliminate any redundant or unnecessary statements, phrases or words.

Effective and persuasive artist statements

  • Act as a basic introduction to you, your process and your work
  • Are tailored to the audience or intended reader (Is this version for general audiences or a panel of experts who will understand technical terms and processes?)
  • Are very clearly stated and easy to understand
  • Tell your story well; briefly, but with a very deep or memorable impression (Generally a one-page artist statement is an appropriate length)
  • Are a reflection on you as the artist, musician, writer, etc. and your philosophies or process, rather than a synopsis of a piece of work

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