Artist Entrepreneur: R for Résumé— The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art by Aletta de Wal


Welcome to the Artist Entrepreneur Column, an occasional series where we talk about the fun, wild and scary ride of succeeding as an artist entrepreneur of all stripes and types and mediums.

Welcome back guest columnist, Aletta de Wal. She specializes in helping visual artists succeed in their fine art careers. She posts regularly on “The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art” and other success tips for fine artists on the topic of writing. This week it’s R for Resume, tips on crafting your résumé in preparation for marketing your work. Enjoy!


Why do you need a résumé and when do you use one?

Each time you apply for admission to a competition or pitch an exhibition, you are effectively applying a “job.” Your résumé is a list of vital information about your art career designed to support your qualifications for a variety of purposes.

You’ll need a résumé when you are applying for a gallery or museum exhibit, entering a juried competition or seeking a grant or residency.

You can post your résumé on your web site and include it in your Professional Portfolio at exhibits.

You actually need two résumés:

  • A master version that includes everything you’ve done during your art career, and the one that you will use for a retrospective.
  • A tailored version that you will use for submissions; typically up to two or three pages. 

What do you include in a résumé and how do you present the information?

  • Résumés rarely include all of the categories and headings listed below, but I’ve included them so that you can select those that apply. Next to each category is a description of the times to include.
  • If you have an extensive résumé, you may modify the category to include the word “Selected” and choose the past 5 years or items from various years that are relevant to purpose of your submission. Select those items that will present your achievements and credentials in the best light.
  • Always list most recent first; dates at far left, except Collections, Bibliography, Publications by Author.
  • Include the date of the résumé in your header, or in the footer if you are using letterhead. If you are not using letterhead, create a header and footer so that each page has identifying information and page numbers.

Here is the sample template I use with my artist clients: 


Postal Address

Phone Number(s) (Studio; Mobile)

E-mail (

Website (

Education: (Graduation Date /candidate if not yet completed, Degree, School, Major or area of concentration, Location; expected graduation date if candidate); include honors and distinctions.)

2xxx MFA Metalsmithing, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, US.

2xxx         BFA in MediaEducational Institution, City, State or Province + Country.

2xxx         BA in MediaEducational Institution, City, State or Province + Country.

2xxx         College Program, Educational Institution, City, State or Province + Country.

2xxx         Professional Schools, Institution, City, State or Province + Country.

Grants/Awards (Date, Name of grant or award, Institution, Location.)

2xxx         Honorarium, Solo Outdoor Sculpture Show, James A. Michener Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA, US.

2xxx         Rome Prize Arts Fellowship, Rome, Italy.

2xxx         Juror’s award, Annual Show, Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission, Haddon Heights, NJ, US.

Residencies: (Date, Name of residency, Institution, Location.)

2xxx         Artist-in-Residence, Djerassi Program, Woodside, CA, US.

Upcoming Exhibitions (Date, Title of Exhibit, Gallery, Location.)

2xxx         Freedom, Bryant Street Gallery, Palo Alto, CA, US.

Solo Exhibitions* (Date, Title of Exhibit, Gallery, Location; include copy of catalog if submission requirements allow.)

2xxx         MFA Thesis, University of California Berkeley, Department of Art Practice, Berkley, CA, US (catalog)

2xxx         National traveling metals exhibition, Coconino Center for the Arts, Flagstaff, AZ.; National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, TN; Wichita Art Association, Wichita, KS, Mitchell Museum, Mt. Vernon, IL.

Two-Person Exhibitions* (Date, Title of Exhibit, Gallery, Location; curator / juror and affiliation information.)

2xxx         Partners, Altman Siegel Gallery, San Francisco, CA, US. (Catalog)Curator: Margaret Danielak, Danielak Art; Juror: George Rivera, Senior Curator, Triton Museum of Art, San Jose, CA.)

Group Exhibitions* (Date, Title of Exhibit, Gallery, Location.)

2xxx         Connections, Triton Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, US (catalog)

(*If relevant to purpose, separate gallery, museum, and invitational exhibitions.)

Collaborative Projects (with other artists, other media; Date, Title of Project, Gallery, Location.)

2xxx         Terrain Project Stories, Multi-Media Theater Project, Multiple Venues, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, US.

Commissions: (Public, Corporate, Private; Date, Title of Commission, Institution or name of Person, with permission, Location.)

2xxx         Grounds for Healing large-scale bronze sculpture, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Hamilton, NJ, US.

Public Collections: (Alphabetically; Institution, Location.)

Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE

Private Collections: (High profile public or impressive private names listed only with permission; Location.)

New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Leicestershire, UK; Seoul, Korea.

Bibliography: (Critical reviews, books, articles in magazines and online that mention your work Author, Title of Article, Publication, Location (physical or online, Date, Page numbers if applicable.)

Print Media:

Jan Lieberman, The Greatest Show! New York Post, NY, January 3rd, 2xxx. Page 14.

Radio/ Television:

Neda Ulaby, Healing Sculptures, NPR Radio, San Francisco, CA, US, March 13, 2xxx.

James Pope, Worlds of Peace, Ovation TV, Los Angeles, CA, US, February, 2xxx.

Online Periodicals: (Can add universal DOI (Digital Object Identifier) instead of link

Charlie Finch, Nothing Lasts Forever,, June 25th, 2xxx.

Website Publications (for images or text published on various websites about you and your artwork; list author name not yours, Title of publication, Url. Company, Title of article/ post, Date.)

Aletta de Wal, Featured Artists- ArtMatters!, Artist Career Training, Scottish Artist Julie Snyder’s Art Career Spans Both Sides of the Country and Both Sides of the Atlantic,  December, 2xxx.

Blogs: (for images or text published on various websites about you and your artwork; list author name not yours.)

Aletta de Wal, Art Marketing Blog, Artist Career Training, Make an Artful Transition to 2013,, December, 2xxx.

Publications as Author: (Your published writings, critical writings, reviews, blogs; Title, Editors if applicable, Publisher, Date, Pages.)

My Real Job is Being an Artist, Lee Wright ed. (The Art Business Library, 2013) 300 pages.

How to Market Your Art, Art Calendar Magazine, September, 2xxx. Pages 12 – 15.

Instructional Videos (Date, Title, Production Company, Location.)

2xxx   Creatively Unblocking Creative Blocks, Painted Jay Productions, Philadelphia, PA, US.

Teaching and Lecturing: (Short or long term, workshops, presentation; Date, Title, Institution, Location.)

2xxx – 2xxx         Hide & Seek Watercolor Techniques, Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu, HI, US.

2xxx – 2xxx         The Business Side of Art Series, The Learning & Product Expo: Art, Burbank, CA, US.

2xxx                     Artist Talk, Digital Photography Institute, New York, NY, US, April 13 -14.

Curatorial Projects: (Exhibits involving other artists; Date, Title, Institution, Location.)

2xxx                          A Gallery Without Walls, Pasadena, CA, US.

Gallery Representation: (Gallery, Location)

Siegel Gallery, Pasadena, CA, US.

Saatchi Online,

Affiliations (Organization, Affiliation, Activities)

Oil Painters of America, Signature Member.

ArtSpan Youth Art Program, Artist Coordinator.


Get into the habit of updating your résumé at least every three months.

Better yet, add items after each event or accomplishment, so that you can offer an up to date resume on a moment’s notice. It may mean the difference between you and another artist if the competition is tight and deadlines are critical.

The most common mistakes I see in artist résumés include:

  • Not following submission requirements.
  • Using 10-point type size or smaller.
  • Using an “artistic” font that is hard to read
  • Putting in the month of the show.
  • Not having enough white space on the page.
  • Listing information that has nothing to do with your art career or that does not pertain to the submission.
  • Starting out with the oldest dates of events first.
  • Listing the event, then the date.
  • Unprofessional e-mail addresses e.g.
  • Typographical errors

These mistakes hurt your credibility and may disqualify you.

Once you have a resume, it’s easy to write a bio – a summary of your history as an artist based on the facts listed in your resume.

If your resume does not include all of the categories I’ve listed, you can use this as a diagnostic tool to consider what you need to do to build out your accomplishments.

Next time, S for Social Media.


About the Author: Aletta de Wal, Artist Career Training
Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.

Aletta works with part-time, emerging and full-time artists who are serious about a career in fine arts. Aletta makes make art marketing easier and the business of art simpler.

More information at:


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  • Linda Ursin says:

    What do you do when you have nothing to put on such a resume?

  • I am going to forward this to my friend who is starting her career as an art quilter. Very helpful. Came here via Ultimate blog challenge. Will be back!

  • Aletta says:

    Hi Linda,
    If you are just starting out, then you can use this resume template as a guide to the kinds of activities you will do to build your experience exhibiting your art. If you want more guidance, check out “Start Your Art Business” In the meantime, your first job is to make art that you love and that will attract people who connect with it. That’s the best part of being an artist!

  • Aletta says:

    Hi Jerri,
    Thanks for forwarding this post to your quilt artist friend. What she is about to embark on is a wonderful art form. I was amazed at the last show I saw of quilted art.

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