resumes and cv's for artists

Resumes & CVs

Visual Artist CV: Recommended Conventions

Many of these conventions were adopted by the College Art Association (CAA) Board of Directors in February 1999, and amended on October 28, 2012. GYST founder Karen Atkinson was on the committee to rewrite and update these guidelines, so we are including them here with minor changes. 

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General Comments

The CV conventions presented here are primarily for those with academic careers. Approaches to CV development can vary based on number of years in the field, area(s) of specialization, specified institutional formats, etc.

According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary (, the noun “curriculum vitae” literally means “course of (one’s) life. “ The Latin term “curriculum vitae” is commonly used, so it need not be underlined or italicized. The abbreviation “CV” should be written in uppercase without periods. This format has been adopted by the Modern Language Association of America (MLA) and The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS).

There is a difference between a CV and an artist résumé. The CV is a record of all your professional activities, usually intended for use in academic situations as well as for applications to employment opportunities. The artist résumé is an abbreviated document, typically one to four pages in length, and is often tailored to reflect a specific expertise. The artist résumé is used in conjunction with commercial and non-profit galleries, the search for exhibition opportunities, residency and grant applications, public art proposals, etc.

The CV outlined here, referred to as the “long CV,” is merely a framework on which to build. It takes into account the basic needs of both the artist and the readers of the document. As your career progresses, you will undoubtedly need to add new categories or make changes in your format. Always keep your CV up to date, just as you would letters of reference.

Occasionally, you might be asked to provide a “short CV.” It, too, is usually designed for academic needs and is sometimes requested for grant applications, special events, etc. It highlights your most significant professional achievements and should be three or four pages in length (unless the maximum length is specified). Service and nonacademic activities are usually omitted in a short CV. If you have a significant number of exhibitions or a lengthy bibliography, you might place them under Selected Solo Exhibitions or Selected Bibliography.

Avoid making your CV complicated. Dramatic layouts and attempts to pad your CV will probably work against you. The CV should augment your images and other documentation. A beautifully prepared CV will not earn you a position if your art or its documentation is weak; however, a poorly designed CV could cost you one, especially if you’re applying for employment or an opportunity in a design-related field.

Use easy-to-read fonts and type sizes, and make good use of white space to ensure the document is visually-inviting and well-organized. Consider simple and straightforward fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, or Palatino, to name a few. Avoid using exotic fonts that may detract from the content. Do not use headshots, images, colored paper, or colored type. Submit your CV in the format the application or guidelines specify.

You should always keep a comprehensive master copy of your CV with everything relevant included. This will allow you to compile a short CV when needed by adding items in relevant categories and by subtracting items in less relevant categories, depending on the target audience and the required length of the CV. If you take the time to document all relevant entries in a comprehensive master copy, you can retain important information that might otherwise be forgotten or lost.

A current good practice is to save your CV as both PDF and Word files. You should maintain a current copy of your CV as a Word document because it is the easiest format to edit and update. PDF files are best to submit or 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 order of the categories listed below. For example, you may choose to put 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 CV. Otherwise, the order presented below is suggested. Also, do not list category headings that are not relevant to you.

While it is important to avoid padding your “long CV,” it is equally important that you do not omit anything. Be sure to list all your degrees, not just the ones related to studio art. In your efforts to keep the CV current, you should develop the habit of documenting everything you do. Keep a file or records that prove you had an exhibition, received a grant, gave a Visiting Artist lecture, etc. You may eventually have to do this in some form for salary raises, retention (reappointment), promotion, tenure, or post-tenure reviews. Ideally, your record keeping should prove the existence of everything in your CV.

Developing Your Curriculum Vitae

Applicants for positions in academia should be aware that individuals outside the department to which they are applying are frequently involved in the search process, and there are many administrators in academia who are unfamiliar with the specifics of art-related fields. Therefore, make your CV easy to follow, so it can be understood by lay people.

Neatness, legibility, grammar, spelling, etc., are often problematic in visual artists’ résumés and CVs. Take extreme care proofreading, and ask a friend or two to proofread it as well.

Sample CV (with Commentary)


1. Name and Contact Information

John Doe
2230 Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 843-4652

Your full name can appear in uppercase, bold or large type—or a combination of these. Be sure your         name is seen but not obnoxious.

Address: Providing your institutional, studio, or home address is optional.

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 CV—especially from a web version of the résumé or CV. Consider listing at least one phone number, so you can be easily reached.)

List addresses and phone numbers that are current. Make it easy to be reached. Include personal information, such as place of birth, only when it is completely relevant to your artwork or an application requirement. The inclusion of date of birth, race, ethnicity, or marital status is not recommended.

Email: An email address is an absolute must! The address can be either institutionally-affiliated or non-institutional, depending on personal preference. (If you are an employed faculty member searching for another position, it is advisable to use a separate, personal email address.) If you choose to use a personal email address, use one that looks professional. Better yet, use an email address connected to your own artist website’s URL.

Website: Personal websites are becoming more and more essential. Providing a URL to a personal website is highly recommended. Institutional and/or professional websites may be used. Avoid listing any blogs or other recreational material, your CV is strictly for professional purposes.

2. Education

List all academic degrees you have earned (noting honors). The order in which you list your education is as follows: year, degree, institution, city, state, country (if applicable). For currently enrolled degree-seeking students, clearly state that the degree is pending and list an expected graduation date. If you are an older artist and have a substantial CV, you might want to list your education near the back of the CV.

Education (example)

2014     MFA (pending), California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA (expected May 2014)

2010     BFA with Distinction, Sculpture, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

2005    BA cum laude, Studio Art and Art History, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

2003    Brown University, Providence, RI (French language courses)

It is not uncommon to have studied art at a university or college without completing the degree. You should list these periods of study, but they should be listed after the degrees you have earned.

Degrees outside the studio fields do not diminish your standing as an artist. In fact, the opposite is true. For example, a degree in French could tell a dean or department chair that you might be able to assist with her/his study abroad program. An art history degree might indicate an ability to teach a course in art appreciation.

3. Professional Experience

(Teaching / Academic Appointments / Related Work Experience)

List all relevant teaching and professional employment positions in this section. This should include: the dates of the employment, the employer (university, art studio, movie production company, etc.), and the location. There are many ways to list these professional designations, see below for the various options.

Teaching Experience (example)

2011–Present     Full-time Faculty, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD


2011–13              Full-time Faculty, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD


2011–                 Full-time Faculty, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD

2009–11            Part-time Faculty, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD

2009–10           Adjunct Instructor, University of North Carolina, Asheville, NC

1997–98           Teaching Assistant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (courses taught:  Introduction to
                          Sculpture [instructor of record], Spring 1998, and Drawing, Fall 1997)

OR list the above two positions separately as below:

1998                 Teaching Assistant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (Introduction to Sculpture [instructor of  
                          record], Spring 1998)

1997                  Teaching Assistant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (Drawing, Fall 1997)

1996                 Teacher’s Assistant, Lawrence High School, Lawrence, KS (Drawing, Ceramics)

1995                 Studio Assistant, Norman Art Association, Norman, OK (maintained studio equipment and
                          prepared workshops)

The exact professional titles you provide are very important. There are distinct differences among such titles as Instructor, Lecturer, Adjunct Professor, Visiting Assistant Professor, etc. However, some schools do not have these ranks or distinctions, and the word “faculty” can be used.

If you had the opportunity to teach as a graduate student, it might be useful to indicate whether or not you were the instructor of record. This tells the reader you were responsible for all aspects of the course (lectures, syllabi, grades, etc.).

If you have just completed graduate school and do not have significant teaching experience, you may have art-related experiences and/or other positions outside of the field that are worth listing (e.g., military service, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps). Use a heading that best describes your work experience. It is acceptable to provide brief descriptions of nonacademic positions in a CV.

4. Awards/Grants/Fellowships

(Honors/Scholarships/Residencies/, etc.)

In this section you will list all of your art-related accomplishments. This could be an academic scholarship, a foundation fellowship, an artist residency, or a grant you received. Grants and Awards can be listed at the beginning or towards the end of your CV.

Awards / Grants / Fellowships (example) 

2012    NYFA Fellowship (sculpture), New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY

2011     Artist-in-Residence, McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, NC

2009    Residency, Helsinki International Artist Programme, Suomenlinna, Finland

2007    Berkman Development Grant, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

2002    Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, New York, NY

Keep your awards relevant to your art practice. Even though you won the 5K run last year, this is not the place to present such information.

5. Exhibition Record

The visual artist’s exhibition or creative activity record is the equivalent of a publication record in other academic disciplines. This record may be the most important category in your CV and should be near the beginning. If you have a more impressive exhibition record than list of awards, then list exhibitions before awards. For those wishing to teach, an exhibition record serves as a rough measure of how active you may be as a member of the faculty and often plays a major role in the hiring process.

In listing exhibitions, always include the title of the exhibition in italics, then the name of venue, city, state, and country (if applicable). If an exhibition catalog accompanies the exhibition, this may also be noted with “(catalog)” at the end of the entry. If there is no title for the exhibition (or you forgot the name) it is important that you designate one such as “Group Exhibition.” Failing to list the title of the exhibition might make you look careless or disinterested.

Solo Exhibitions (or Selected Solo Exhibitions)

Artists well into their careers may want to divide the Exhibitions category into separate headings, such as Solo Exhibitions and Group Exhibitions. This allows the reader to easily grasp the number and type of exhibitions in any given year. 

Selected Solo Exhibitions (example)

2013    For The Time Being, Side Street Projects, Pasadena, CA

2012    Ad Infinitum, Art in General, New York, NY (catalog)

2010    Snow Never Melts, Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis,  MN

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 or social practice artists, the heading Performances or Public Projects 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.

Group Exhibitions (or Selected Group Exhibitions)

As with all previous exhibition entries, Group Exhibition entries should begin with the italicized title of the exhibition, name of gallery or venue, city, state, and country (if applicable). If the exhibition has no formal title, but is a group exhibition, then you may list it as Group Exhibition (no italics). Again, if a catalog accompanies the group exhibition, this may also be noted with “(catalog)” placed at the end of the entry.

With a curated exhibition, you can list the name of the curator(s). This section may be of particular importance if prominent curators were involved.

“Pay-to-play” or entry-fee juried exhibitions are far less prestigious and should not necessarily be listed on your CV once you have more prestigious shows to list.

Group Exhibitions (example)

2013     The Ungovernables: 2012 New Museum Triennial,  New Museum, New York, NY (curated by                
              Eungie Joo) (catalog)

2012     Neu!, Ebersmoore Gallery, Chicago, IL

2011     The Age of Aquarius, The Renaissance Society, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

             Group Exhibition, Gallery A, Richmond, VA

            Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (catalog)

2010     Land Tracking Land, Rochester Contemporary, Rochester, NY (catalog)

Selected Group Exhibitions (example)

2014    Earth Through a Lens, an international juried photography exhibition, Rancho Mirage, CA and             
            electronically at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA), San Diego, CA (catalog)

2013    Domestic Diaries: Photographic Viewpoints, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL (curated by             
             Karen Korner)

2012    10th Annual Iowa Sculpture Festival, Des Moines Area Community College, Newton, 
             IA First Place

All exhibitions listed under one category

There are many ways to present an exhibition record. For less experienced artists (or those who are not interested in the hierarchy of solo versus group exhibitions), you have the option to list all exhibitions under one heading. You may indicate any that are solo exhibitions by stating “Solo Exhibition” or “Two-Person Exhibition” at the beginning of the entry, just after the date. Another option is to use an asterisk (*) or other symbol in front of the entry.  You can include this note next to the Exhibitions title, such as Solo and Two-Person Exhibitions indicated with *.

 Sample #1

Exhibitions (example)

2013    MFA Thesis Exhibition, Katherine Nash Gallery, Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota,
            Minneapolis, MN

2012    The Night of Day, Fee Kelsey Gallery, Leon, France

2011    Group Exhibition, Reeves Contemporary, New York, NY 

            Better, Southern Projects, Asheville, NC (solo)

           100% Acid Free, White Columns, New York, NY (curated by Micaela Giovannotti)

2010   Dream, Betty Silver Gallery, Atlanta, GA (catalog)

Sample #2

Exhibitions (example)
(Solo and Two-Person Exhibitions indicated with *)

2013    MFA Thesis Exhibition, Christopher Smith Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

2012    *Night, Ashley Johnson Gallery, San Diego, CA

2011    Form & Function, KSA Contemporary, New York, NY

6. Collaborative Projects (if applicable)

If you work in digital art, new media, video, performance art, or other collaborative projects (such as co-curating exhibitions), be sure to note whether or not the work is collaborative. 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.”

Collaborative Projects (example)

2008    Some Things We Do Together, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY (performance in collaboration with Sarah

2003    RN: The Past, Present and Future of the Nurse Uniform, The Fabric Workshop and Museum,
             Philadelphia, PA (in collaboration with Chris Reynolds)

7. Commissions (if applicable)

In this section, you may list any commissioned projects that you have completed. Commissions, if numerous, may be divided into subcategories, such as Public, Corporate, and Private.

Commissions (example)

2009     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

2007      Public Art Commission, Through Time, sculpture, Sunset Metro Station, Los Angeles, CA

8. Bibliography (Reviews/Articles/Catalogs/Interviews)

A bibliography in a CV or résumé consists of entries published about you and your artwork. These include reviews or articles (in print or online), books, catalogs, radio and television interviews, and photographic reproductions of your artwork.

The Chicago Manual of Style is a good resource if you are in need of a style guide for listing articles and reviews, etc.  

You can find the Chicago Manual of Style here: 

Print Media (example)

2010    Daniel Mendelsohn, “But Enough about Me,” New Yorker, January 25, 2010. 68. 

1998    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.

1997    Diane Terrel, “New Work in Central New York,” Sculpture 17, no. 1 (January 1997): 63. 

The example (immediately above) refers to a review or article written by Diane Terrel in Sculpture magazine, volume 17, issue one, in January 1997, on page 63. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends that the author’s last name come before the first name in an alphabetical list—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. However, both styles are acceptable.


You should document interviews and/or features about your work on radio or television and enter the following information on your CV or résumé. List the first and last name of the interviewer/author, “title of the segment,” the hosting station, location, and the date in which it occurred. 

Radio/Television (example)

1998    Jane Williams, Interview, WUWJ Radio, Utica, NY, December 9, 1998.

1995    John Doe, “Commissioned Artwork Arrives in Charlotte,” WSOC-TV, Charlotte, NC, March 12,          1995.

Online Periodicals

Author’s first and last name, “title of article,” journal title in italics, volume, issue number (if available), date published, or accessed. DOI (Digital Object Identifier), 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 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: Thus the example below becomes:

Online Periodicals (example)

2012    Patrick Lichty, “On Virtual FLUXUS,” International Journal of Art, Culture and Design Technologies, 
2(1), (January–June 2012). DOI: 10.4018/ijacdt.2012010103

2010    Eva Diaz, “Critic’s Picks,” Artforum, February 28, 2010.

            Jessica Lack, “Exhibition Preview: Omer Fast, London,” The Guardian, October 2, 2010        

2008   Stuart Low, “Rochester Contemporary Art Center features exhibit of Alison Saar art,” Rochester              
            Democrat and Chronicle
, May 11, 2008.

Website Publications

This is for images or text published on various websites about you and your artwork. First and last name of the 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 

2012    Hooper Turner, “Artist Statement,” Skidmore Contemporary Art, access date: February 2, 2012. 


First and last name of the author, “title of blog entry,” title of blog in italics, followed by “(blog).” date and time of blog entry. URL

Blogs (example)

2012    Lee Rosenbaum, “Dorothy Kosinski, Phillips Collection’s Director, Named to National Council on             the Humanities (plus some musings on NEA),” Culture Grrl: Lee Rosenbaum’s cultural commentary (blog).  July 11, 2012. 11:52 am.

Selected Bibliography

When you have a large number of publications about your work on your CV, consider editing the list down to the most important and relevant for a “short CV”; title the category Selected Bibliography.

9. Publications as Author (or Published Writings, Critical Writings, Selected Publications as Author)

This category describes material that you have written. Artists who are also writers should use this category heading or something similar 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, catalog essays, blogs, etc. (See below.)

Publications as Author (example)

2011    “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.

2009    “What does it mean to kill an animal in the name ofart?,” Quodlibetica, Constellation #5 Death, 
              November 2009.

2007    “Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures,” Modern Painters, October 2007. 105–106.

10. Lectures / Presentations (Conferences/Symposia, etc.)

Depending upon the nature of the presentation, an artist may use any one or a combination of headings, such as: Visiting Artist Lectures, Presentations, Panels, Workshops, Critiques, and Guest Lectures. For lectures at conferences, be sure to list the title of your paper or presentation, as well as the title of the session in italics, title of conference or sponsoring institution, city, and state. Some universities like to see specific dates as well, which should be placed at the end of the entry.

Lectures / Presentations (example)

2012    “Applying Relevancy,” What Is Conceptual Thinking?, session chair and panelist, sponsored by             
            the Mid-America College Art Association, College Art Association Annual Conference, Los Angeles,
            CA, February 23.

Comments: You may give a presentation or chair a panel at a conference. Many institutions value this kind of activity because it adds to the visibility of a department and institution and helps the faculty member network, etc. Do not list conferences attended; only list conferences if you presented a paper, chaired a panel, led a workshop, exhibited your work, etc.

Visiting Artist Lectures / Critiques (examples)

2007    Lecture/Presentation, Graduate and Undergraduate Critiques, The Ernest G. Welch School of Art                     and Design, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, March 21.

2006    Lecture and Graduate Critiques, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, November 15.

2005    Workshop, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, April 28–30.

Giving a lecture or technical demonstration at another institution is an important activity. This is often done in conjunction with a solo show at an institution. Sometimes the visiting artist will be asked to conduct a critique as well. You should specify the type of activity at the beginning of the entry, along with the host institution, city, state, and date(s), as shown above

11. Collections

If your work is part of a collection (private, public, institutional, corporate, museum, etc.), this should be included in your CV. Simply list the name of the collector or collection, city, and state. If your list of collections is long, separate collections into subcategories, such as Private, Public, and Corporate.

Collections (sample)

Agnes Gund, New York, NY

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC 

The Progressive Art Collection, Cleveland, OH

The West Collection, Paoli, PA

Comments: List collections alphabetically under each category or subcategory. Because some private collectors often prefer to maintain privacy, it is best to ask for their consent before listing their names. Do not list friends and family members in this section. A collection listing should only be used for high-profile public or corporate collections, and very impressive private collections.

12. Other Categories

There are a wide variety of professional activities that may require additional headings. 

Artist Residencies (or Artist-in-Residence)

This category is sometimes combined with Awards, Honors, and Grants. It should not be confused with the heading“Visiting Artist Lectures. ”The major distinction is one of duration. This heading includes visits to universities where you are scheduled to conduct seminars, workshops, lectures, etc., over a period of several days, as opposed to residencies, which can last weeks, months, or years.

List the year, name of residency, institution (if applicable), city, state, country (if applicable). You may also include the dates of your residency, however, this is optional.

Artist Residencies (sample)

2012         MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH (June 1 - September 30)

2010–11    Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, Roswell, NM (December 1– November 30) 2008

Other articles related to this topic: Artist Statement, Cover Letter, Proposals and Grants

See our other articles in GYSTNews, or see the list at the left.

Feel free to share this article with other artists.

You can also get our popular book for artists, Getting Your Sh*t Together: The Ultimate Business Manual for Every Practicing Artist, which includes all of this information and more here.