Art Exhibit Policy

Art Exhibit Policy

Purpose. The Community Room of the Bellingham Public Library is available as a public service to give people of all ages the greatest possible access to educational and cultural opportunities through meetings and enjoyment of works of art. Art exhibits in the Community Room provide a chance for artists and craftspeople to display their own artwork within the limits of the space, with an understanding that the space is used regularly for meetings by people of all ages, including young children.

Priority will be given to applicants residing in Bellingham, then to those from the Bellingham area, and a lower priority to those from other parts of Massachusetts or Rhode Island.

The Trustees of the Bellingham Public Library have adopted this policy to address how works of art may be displayed in the Community Room.

The space. The Community Room is located within the Bellingham Public Library on the first floor. It has three 6 foot by 3 foot areas, between the windows in the room, of available wall space for display. It has no provisions (such as pedestals) for three-dimensional work. Because the Community Room is used simultaneously for art exhibits and for meetings by groups of all ages, including young children, no works may be displayed on tables or on the floor. We encourage you to view the space before planning an exhibit.

Who may display works of art. Applications for use of the Community Room to display art may be submitted by individuals, groups, nonprofit organizations and schools. One-person, group, or theme-based shows will be considered, with one person from a group to be designated as the contact person with the library.

Application review schedule. The Bellingham Public Library Art Exhibit Review Committee reviews applications as they are received on a first come first served basis. Application materials will be reviewed within eight weeks of application date and a written confirmation card with notation of show dates will be sent to the exhibitor upon approval of the exhibit.

Click here for the Application

Period of display. Exhibits are scheduled for three months. Works of art should remain on display throughout the exhibit period. If a piece is removed before the exhibit period ends, it should be replaced upon removal by another piece. Display set up and removal dates need to be coordinated with the library calendar.

Liability. The Trustees of the Bellingham Public Library and the Town of Bellingham are not responsible for the safety and care of works on display. Because the Community Room is not staffed, there is risk in choosing to display works at the library. The library cannot assume liability for lost or stolen art. The Community Room is a public space that is used by many members of the community and does not have a library staff member in the space at all times.

Suitability. The art must be deemed suitable for public display in a public library. Determination of suitability rests with the Library Director and Board of Trustees. The display area is open to adults and children of all ages. Works of art must fit on the art panels that are in the Community Room.  Potential exhibitors are encouraged to view the room prior to applying.

Artist responsibility

Installation and removal. The artist, or designated contact person in the case of group exhibits, is responsible for installing and removing the exhibit at the agreed-upon time when the library is open and when the Community Room is not in use. If set-up and take down cannot occur during library hours, the library custodian may be hired by the artist to open the building as per the policy for Community Room use

Artists are responsible for insuring artwork is ready for hanging. The artist will work with library staff to develop an effective exhibit. The actual hanging and removal of the exhibit will be the responsibility of the artist. The library will provide the hardware neceessary for hanging the art on hooks on the wall display system.  The library has a stepstool that may be used. Paintings, prints, drawings and photographs must be suitably framed and wired. No nails, thumbtacks, adhesives, or tape may be used directly on the walls. We suggest numbering work and displaying an accompanying information sheet. Artists causing damage from exhibiting works will repair the damage or reimburse the Bellingham Public Library, as the Trustees of the library determine necessary.

Exhibits will be completed 24 hours in advance of the planned opening for review by library staff.

List of works displayed. The artist must provide a list with the title, size, and media of works to be exhibited, along with the artist’s name, address and telephone number to the Library Director no later than one week before the start of the show.

Public information. It is the artist’s responsibility to publicize art exhibits, check current library hours and events schedule for the Community Room when preparing publicity, and to include in any publicity that exhibits are not available for public viewing during meetings in the Community Room. The library will mention the exhibit in its monthly press release.

Art exhibit events. Artists wishing to hold an event in conjunction with their exhibits must abide by the Bellingham Public Library Community Room Policy for that event. The policy is available at the library.



How to Apply

Please include:

  1. Color photographs or color photocopies showing 6-12 examples of the type of work expected to be shown. Materials should be clearly labeled with artist’s name, media, and dimensions of the work. Indicate the top of the artwork with an arrow.
  2. Typed résumé or biographical paragraph
  3. Brief description of the work to be exhibited
  4. A self-addressed stamped envelope of sufficient size and postage for the return of your materials, or provide a local telephone number and indicate that you want to pick them up in person

Please note:

  1. No handwritten statements or résumés will be accepted.
  2. Do not submit original artwork for review. Send photographs or photocopies only.
  3. Materials will not be returned unless you include an envelope with postage or provide a local telephone number to arrange to pick them up in person.
  4. The quality of your application materials has a direct effect on your chances of being considered for a show. Please keep this in mind when you prepare your application.
  5. The Library in conjunction with the Board of Trustees reserves the right to review all work, written and visual, to be displayed for suitability.