Making Exhibition Proposals 

Submit your proposal by email to our office. We encourage proposals from artists, curators and collectives for exhibition, residency, publication, off-site or performance projects. Please feel free to contact the Director if you wish to talk through an idea. Proposals are accepted at any time throughout the year but are reviewed annually by the Director and Board of Trustees.

The Blue Oyster prioritises projects that are new, speculative, experimental and innovative.

Evaluation of each proposal will be based on the following criteria:
a. Artistic Excellence - demonstration that the applicant is capable of executing high quality work of a professional standard
b. Experimentation/Innovation - projects that take intellectual and artistic risks and in doing so produce contemporary art that is able to challenge audiences and practitioners
c. Newness/Originality - only proposals to exhibit new work or work not previously seen in the South Island, or to present historical works in new perspectives, will be considered
d. Non-Commercial Focus - proposals of an explicitly commercial nature that are devoid of self-reflective critique will be rejected
e. Medium/Approach - proposals will be considered in terms of the range of media and approaches that they present
f. Audience - proposals will be considered for their potential to attract new and diverse audiences or to encourage audience development
g. Diversity - proposals will be considered in terms of the diversity of perspectives they can bring from practitioners of varying cultural backgrounds and career stages
h. External Connections - proposals will be considered in terms of the possible connections they can bring to local and regional cultural events

Spaces in the programme are very limited and high quality projects may still be declined for various programming reasons.

What should I include in my proposal?

You should always apply in your own words and be as clear and concise as possible. Below are some suggestions for length and content.

1. A completed cover sheet (editable word doc form).

2. Outline of the physical specifics of the proposed project and how you intend to address the space. Also indicate any special requirements, equipment or technical support you may need. It may help to address the gallery floorplan. 1-2 pages (more if needed)

3. Brief description of the projects formal/ conceptual/ historical/ political/ philosophical explorations. 200-400 words, maximum 1 page (A4)

4. Concept sketches / images of works in progress / photos of previous work that are strongly relevant to your proposed project. Where possible choose images that will give the panel a realistic sense of what your planned exhibition is likely to involve. Label the works with size medium and date, also make sure you label works in progress and studio shots. 3-4 images (no more than 10).

5. A concise C.V. that lists relevant professional background and experience and includes your full contact details. 1-2 pages

6. Any other material that may help the panel assess your project, for example writing on previous work, reviews, catalogues.

7. For projects where installation, travel and freight expenses are expected to exceed $500 please include a budget indicating revenue sources.

Note: Please do not assume we are familiar with your work when submitting proposals. As the trust does change membership from time to time, some trustees may not be familiar with your work, even if you have previously shown with us.

Money / Financial Conditions 

We take no commissions on sales, however, selling work, or work that is focused on being saleable is not what the gallery is for. Projects with strong commercial intent will not be accepted.

The Gallery is supported entirely by grants. Our major contributor is Creative New Zealand, supplemented where possible by smaller grants from various other sources (including Dunedin City Council and Community Trust of Otago). Because our income is not stable the exact proportion of what we are able to provide is set annually. Should your project be accepted, financial conditions will be notified in writing well before the commencement of setup.

Funding dependent, the gallery provides exhibiting artists an artist fee and assistance with marketing, installation, limited equipment and furniture, an opening and a rent-free, attended space.

However, final responsibility for any additional installation consumables, display furniture, equipment, freight, travel and accommodation, as is necessary for the successful completion of the project, is the responsibility of the exhibitor, but we would be happy to help you as much as we can.

Ways to seek additional funding for the exhibition of your work include: commercial sponsorship or in-kind support or donations, CNZ Creative Communities Scheme - administered by local councils, private trusts like the Olivia Spencer Bower Foundation, gaming and community trusts in your region and CNZ quick response grants. If you would like to investigate some of these options please contact the Director to discuss how we can assist you.

Available equipment 

The gallery owns four data projectors (two older, two newer), one flat screen TV, DVD players, media players and limited display furniture, all of which need to be booked well in advance.  We will help source equipment for projects as much as we can, however final responsibility for installing the project remains with the exhibitors.