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Gallery Frequently Asked Questions link

Thank you for your interest in exhibiting your artwork at the Austin Public Library. The mission of the Central Library Gallery is to promote and support local artists and art communities, increase access and awareness of contemporary and diverse forms of art, and to provide exhibitions in which a wide variety of identities and interests are represented. Free and open to the public, we aim to curate quality exhibitions and to be a destination in Austin that celebrates the arts, creativity, and educational programs.

Our approach to exhibitions directly aligns with APL’s mission and vision;

Mission: Inspiring ALL to Discover, Learn, and Create
Vision: A Model of Equity, Inclusion, Access, and Diversity

Below are some frequently asked questions about exhibiting artwork at the Austin Central Library.

I am interested in exhibiting my artwork at the library. Who do I contact?

Please contact Exhibit Coordinator, Nicole Parker

Do you have a formal program or application process for artists to showcase their work at the Austin Public Library? If so, what are the steps involved?

  • We have a Call for Exhibition Proposal process that takes place every 2 years. The most recent one was for 2024.
  • Our Call for Exhibition Proposals is publicized on APL’s website, social media, and through other free, public, media outlets
    • The application process is online, through the Submittable app, listing all of the information that is required to apply
    • Printed copies of the application are available upon request
    • Applications are reviewed and scored by a panel made up of library staff, professional artists, curators, educators, and community members
  • Due to a robust exhibition calendar and high demand for exhibition spaces in Austin, there is no guarantee of a proposal being accepted for an exhibition. We do our best to showcase as many artists as we can in our spaces!
  • Artists may also be invited to exhibit by the Exhibit Coordinator on a case by case basis.

I applied to the Call for Exhibition Proposals. When will I receive information about my proposal status?

  • Once you submit your proposal, by the call for proposal deadline, an auto response indicating that we received your proposal will be emailed to you. If you do not receive an auto response, please contact Exhibit Coordinator Nicole Parker, , 512-974-7379
  • Due to the large number of proposals that we receive, the review panel is given at least two weeks to review and score the applications. Once they have completed the review, the Exhibit Coordinator tallies the scores and sends out messages regarding application status

Are there any specific guidelines or criteria for selecting artists for exhibitions?

We exhibit work by both established and emerging artists. Some important criteria and guidelines include:

  • Experience or knowledge of exhibiting artwork in a public space or institution
  • Possess legal rights/copyrights to exhibit original artwork
  • Capacity to meet deadlines
  • Ability to work with a variety of library staff
  • Ability to obtain vendor registration number with the City of Austin
  • We respect freedom of expression but art displayed in a location of the Austin Public Library should be appropriate to an office setting and for viewing by public officials, City employees, and citizens

Is there a particular theme or style that the library prioritizes?

  • We have not done any specifically themed shows or styles
  • Exhibitions take place to showcase artistic endeavors and to encourage public dialogue, understanding, and enjoyment of visual art. The goal of these exhibitions is to present works of art that reflect the artistic excellence and cultural diversity of Austin and beyond

How many exhibitions does the library have per year?

  • Our main gallery hosts 4-5 exhibitions per year
  • The Living Room Gallery hosts 5 exhibitions per year

What is the typical duration of the exhibitions? Are they typically solo shows or group exhibitions?

  • 10 weeks in the 2nd floor main gallery
  • 12 weeks on 6th floor Living Room Gallery
  • We have held both group and solo shows based on proposals that we have received

Are there any associated costs or fees for artists who wish to exhibit at the Austin Public Library?

  • There are no fees to exhibit at the library
  • Artists are responsible for their own supplies, materials, travel, and shipping/return shipping costs
  • Artists are responsible for the optional purchase of alcohol or catering for an artist reception. The city cannot purchase alcohol for events
  • We do offer small honorariums for all exhibiting artists. Honorariums are based on availability of library funds and differ in amount for the Main Gallery vs. Living Room Gallery. Funds are given to artists once the exhibition is installed and opens. The same base rate applies for solo and group shows

Do you accept submissions from artists outside of the Austin area?

  • Yes, we do. We accept submissions from both Texas and national artists

Is there a specific timeframe or deadline for submitting proposals or applications?

  • We have specific deadlines for our public call for exhibition proposals. Usually we give artists at least 3 months to prepare their applications once the call has been publicized

I would like to exhibit my artwork at branch of the library in my neighborhood. Who do I contact?

  • You can speak directly to a branch manager or assistant manager, or contact Exhibit Coordinator, Nicole Parker, who will help coordinate contacts

Can I purchase artwork that is exhibited at the library?

  • Although artwork may be for sale, the City is unable to handle transactions and no commission is taken. The exhibitor is responsible for providing copies of a sales price list and contact person(s) and managing all sales. Artwork may not be sold on Library property.
  • Artists may choose to sell prints or small, original pieces in our APL Shop, located at the Central Library. The APL Shop sells Austin Public Library branded merchandise, book themed products, and unique, locally sourced gifts. All proceeds benefit Austin Public Library

Are there any other relevant details or information that you can share with me about the process of exhibiting at the Austin Public Library?

  • The locations of the Austin Public Library that exhibit art do not function solely as galleries or as museums, but to complement library services and programs
  • There are a lot of logistics that go into producing an exhibit at the library; communication, flexibility, and a bit of patience are key to both artist and exhibition successes

Is the Gallery at Central free and open to the public?

  • Yes, the Gallery is free and open to the public during regular library hours
  • Exhibition receptions and artist talks are also free and open to the public
  • On occasion, The Gallery also serves as a rental space for private events, during which the open hours may vary
  • Gallery hours:
    • Monday-Thursday: 9 AM - 8 PM
    • Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
    • Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM
    • Sunday: 12 - 5 PM

Does the library accept donations of artwork?

  • The Gallery at Central does not currently accept donations of artwork due to storage space and not having a fine arts archivist on site