Letters of Recommendation

Many residencies, grants, and job applications will ask for not only a list of references, but also letters of recommendation.  The most effective letters will be from people who know you well and whose perspective matters to the search committee.  A letter from your mom may sound amazing, but people reviewing it won’t think what she says is significant.  If your roject is academic based, ask a former professor, or if your applying for something more community oriented ask another artist or curator.  Try to keep these references current…meaning don’t ask someone to write something for you if you haven’t talked to them in a year.  A nice way to keep in touch is to send out email blasts about your accomplishments (e.g. shows, awards) periodically to people you think might like to know or send letters (this is my favorite communication form).


When you ask people to write this here are some things you should provide:

– a link to the position or award you are applying for

– a current CV (cum vitae) or resume

– your proposal (if you have one)


optional additions:

– artist statement

– current work (if they haven’t seen your newer pieces)

– a list of qualities or aspects you’re needing their letter to mention (this doesn’t mean asking them to write that you are the greatest artist alive, it just provides a bit more direction.  For example “I would like you to focus on my work ethic or academic accomplishments or our personal relationship in your letter”.


Usually the more information you give the writer, the better and more specific the letter will be.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: