Blog No. 1 / How to Get into a Permanent Collection / by steve joseph

I was fortunate enough to have artwork included in exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design twice, (as of June 2013) as well as being an artist in resident in 2010. During this residency I observed a fellow artist offer art to the museum's curator for inclusion in their permanent collection. A few days later I asked the curator the same question, how I can go about this myself? The process took over a year and included the following steps:

1. First I created a professional relationship with the staff. When they weren't busy I told them about my work, and got them excited about my future projects. It helps tremendously if you are there for a purpose like if you are in a show or at a residency. It is much more difficult if you are an outsider. 

2. Once I asked and the curator agreed on the possibility of having my work I was asked to present a group of loose sketches and concepts to the curator who then discussed them with the VP & Chief Curator of the museum.

3. Feedback and revisions on these sketches, and a 2nd submission.

4. Feedback and revisions on these sketches, and a 3rd submission.

5. Feedback and revisions on these sketches, and a 4th much more tighter submission.

6. At this point the curators selected one piece, and planed on showing the work at the next meeting of the Museum's selection committee.

7. Three months pass.

8. The work is now considered to be included in "Playing with Fire", an upcoming exhibit, with the possibility for inclusion in MAD's permanent collection.

9.  I make and deliver the work.
 
10. The exhibit runs for five months, and towards the end of this time the selection committee meets and approves the work for inclusion in the permanent collection.

11. Lots of paperwork.

What I Learned: The amount of time for creating designs, revisions and making the work were well worth having my work at MAD. This was an important accomplishment in my career.  From the start there was the possibility of the work not being accepted, and the time schedule to actually make the work was very, very short. Because I submitted a few choices to MAD, I now have 3 other designs that were not chosen, to work on.

I finished it hours before tropical storm Sandy hit New York (November 2013), flooding our basement and shutting my studio down for a week because of no electricity. The work was delivered after the storm, once MAD had reopened.

What I Would Do Differently:
If and when another museum asks for work I would better negotiate what else I can get from them like a life time membership or special event to see the work.