Call for Artists and Curators - FAQs |
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Call for Artists and Curators - FAQs

Where is the James Watrous Gallery located? What is the space like?

The gallery is on the third floor of Overture Center for the Arts in downtown Madison, in a semi-circular space that wraps around a skylit rotunda. The exhibition space is approximately 1500 sq ft, and usually divided in half to present two simultaneous solo shows. There are five moveable walls, making the space very flexible, and staff work with the artists to determine the final layout. You can find images from previous exhibitions at or on Instagram @watrousgallery.

Is the James Watrous Gallery part of Overture Center for the Arts?

The James Watrous Gallery is a resident company at Overture Center and rents space on the 3rd floor. The Watrous Gallery is a program of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, an independent nonprofit organization.

When will these exhibitions be scheduled?

The earliest will be late fall 2023, but most exhibits will be scheduled two-three years in advance. No more than one guest curated show will be scheduled per year.


If I live out of state, can I apply to the Call for Artists?

To qualify for a solo exhibition, artists must reside in the state at the time of application and exhibition. If you do not reside in Wisconsin but have a strong connection to the state and would like to be considered for a group exhibition, send an email describing your situation to before submitting an application.

Can artists propose a pairing of two solo shows that would be exhibited at the same time?

It’s best for artists to apply separately and let the jury and gallery staff select the pairings. However, you are encouraged to use the proposal field to suggest pairing your work with another artist’s. Be sure to explain why you feel your work complements one another’s.

Can two or more artists apply with a joint or team project?

Yes, but please apply under just one name. Use the proposal field to talk about the other artists’ involvement, and include images from each artist.

How should I fill out the “proposal” field?

A traditional artist’s statement is fine, but it can be more informal than that. The important thing is to share your intentions and goals for an exhibit, and any additional information that will help us understand it. You might share how this body of artwork has evolved, what inspired you, or details about technique. Some artists use this field to describe a new project that isn't ready for photography yet, or to offer specifics about how they'd like to install the work.

Is it acceptable to submit older work? 

Yes. The important thing is to show us work you are excited about and give the jury a sense of your approach and intention.

What kind of resume should I send?

We ask for a resume to give the jury a sense of your relevant training, experience, exhibitions, and publications. If your resume is longer than 2-3 pages, an abbreviated version is preferred. PDF is best.

What if I don’t have a resume?

If you don’t have a resume (or your resume is for a day job), please share a short bio instead. One-two paragraphs describing your relevant artistic career or experience will suffice.

What is the digital image size limit?

Each individual image file should be 2MB or less.  Files larger than 2MB may load too slowly during the jury process. JPEG and PNG files are best. The ideal size for onscreen viewing is 72dpi and no wider than 800 pixels. Video files should be under 3 minutes long.

Will exhibiting artists receive compensation?

Artists with solo shows will receive a $300 honorarium. Honoraria for group shows will vary depending on successful fundraising and the extent of individual artists’ involvement.


For the first time, the Academy is also welcoming exhibition proposals from guest curators. When submitting an application, under medium, you will mark “curator.”

What is a guest curator responsible for?

If selected, guest curators would develop the content for their exhibition: the theme, the checklist of artworks, and the interpretive material, including but not limited to exhibit texts and labels. Guest curators would also share in exhibition design and planning for public programs.

Gallery staff will handle grant-writing, budgeting, promotion, design, installation, and event management, although the guest curator is welcome to be involved in any aspect of this work as well.

What should a proposal for a curated exhibition include?

Describe the exhibition’s theme and intention: Why should these artists’ work be shown together? What message would this exhibition convey? Include a list of artists whose work would be included, and indicate whether their participation is confirmed or not.

Proposals for audience engagement, programming, and exhibit design are encouraged. However, the James Watrous Gallery’s exhibition budgets are modest. Extensive public programming or complex design would be dependent on successful fundraising.

Can my proposal include artists from outside Wisconsin?

The majority of the artists should be from Wisconsin or have strong demonstrated connections to the state. Priority will be given to exhibitions that emphasize artists from Wisconsin.

Will guest curators receive compensation?

Guest curators will receive a $300 honorarium.

For questions about resumes/bios and image files, see the For Artists section.


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Wisconsin Academy Offices 
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
Phone: 608.733.6633


James Watrous Gallery 
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25