An official website of Arlington County Government

Opportunities for Artists

Exhibit Your Art at the Library

The Arlington Public Library is committed to displaying works of art and craft created by and/or of interest to the Arlington community. 

We hold quarterly juries for solo or group exhibits, and an annual call for artists organized around a specific theme. We also hold an annual exhibit of the Arlington Public School’s Scholastic Art Show.

Exhibit Locations

See photos of exhibit locations

How to Apply

Artists are invited to submit work with a common theme, style or medium. There is no submission charge.

Please include:

  • Completed application form [pdf].
  • List describing the title, medium, size and sale price or insurance value of each work.
  • Short statement of the work, one or two paragraphs in length. Consider discussing technique and materials used, and/or themes addressed
  • Images of all the works in JPG format on a CD, or as printed photographs. The artist’s name should be clearly visible on the CD or on each print.

The Committee will determine the specific pieces to be exhibited, the duration of the exhibit, and exhibit location but will attempt to accommodate an artist’s preference. The Committee reserves the right to select individual works to be shown with the works of another artist or may provide the opportunity for a one-person show.

Exhibits may advocate a position or a point of view. Within the guidelines, materials cannot be excluded on the basis of content unless the exclusion is necessary to serve a compelling governmental interest which cannot be served by less restrictive means. However, inclusion in an exhibit or display does not constitute endorsement of the content by the Library or the County government.

Artists may resubmit new work after one year.


Selection of Work for Exhibit

  1. Exhibition facilities are offered by invitation of the Friends’ of the Library Exhibition Committee, which consists of at least four members: two representing the Friends and the library, and two representing the local arts community. One member serves as the Exhibit Coordinator and primary contact person. Requests to serve on the Committee may be submitted to the Exhibit Coordinator throughout the year. The Friends of the Library, with the Library Director, reserves final approval of any recommendations of the Committee.
  2. The Exhibition Committee meets four times a year to select work for exhibition. Deadlines for submissions:
    • February 1
    • May 1
    • August 1
    • November 1
  3. The Exhibition Committee shall decide on the suitability of any art, its framing or support structure, and any visual or written material that might accompany an exhibit. The committee will consider a wide range of artistic expression in deciding on potential exhibitors. However, in deciding the suitability of any work, the Committee is mindful that all segments of the community and all age groups use the display area.
  4. Specifically, the Exhibition Committee seeks to satisfy the following objectives in selecting and developing exhibitions:
    • Present a variety of works by local artists in the visual and literary arts;
    • Help local artists increase their public exposure;
    • Promote the Arlington Library system, the Friends of the Arlington  Public Library, and art activities throughout the county.
  5. Residence in Arlington is not required but may be considered in the selection process. Works of art may be offered for sale, but this is not a requirement and will not affect committee decisions.
  6. The Friends of the Arlington Public Library and the Library promote freedom of expression without restriction on content or form. The views expressed in the works exhibited at the Library are those of the artist and are not necessarily those of the Library and its staff or the Friends and their membership.

Exhibition Policies

Arlington Public Library – Central and Branch Libraries

  1. Works of art may be offered for sale, with prices established by the artist. The artist is responsible for conducting the sale of any work directly with the purchaser, not through library staff. Works that are not available for purchase must be clearly designated “NFS” (Not For Sale).
  2. Work sold must remain on exhibit throughout the designated period. The artist must notify the Exhibit Coordinator within 48 hours of a sale so that the artwork may be marked as “sold”.
  3. The Committee requests that in return for the opportunity to exhibit at the library, artists contribute to the Friends of the Arlington County Public Library 20 percent of the selling price of each work they sell.  This will be in the form of a check made out to the Friends of the Arlington Library and given to the Art Coordinator within a week of the end of the show.
  4. All art must be suitably framed, with hanging apparatus (screw eyes and wire) or mounted and stabilized for pedestal or showcase display. All frames, armatures and mounting arrangements must be securely constructed. Work that is fragile in nature or whose framing or display arrangement is of questionable durability may be rejected. The use of gallery clips to frame work is NOT permitted.
  5. Insurance coverage will be provided for artwork while on exhibit at the Arlington Public Libraries at the retail value of the pieces or, if not for sale, the insurance value – up to a maximum of $1000 per piece. When submitting your application, please denote a value for each piece, whether or not it is for sale.
  6. Permission to photograph and reproduce any work accepted in the exhibition for publicity purposes is considered granted unless otherwise stated in writing.
  7. The Exhibition Committee may invite the artist to participate in a discussion of her work. Artists are encouraged to promote their exhibit through invitations and announcements.
  8. For each work, the artist is to provide a display card or title label indicating the name of the work, artist’s name, and medium. Prices will not be displayed on individual works, but will be available as part of the promotional materials available free to the public. No labels, signs, artwork or other material is to be attached to any walls without both the item and the means of adhesion being approved first by the Exhibition Committee. Artists using tape that mars or damages library walls will not be invited to exhibit in the future.
  9. Artists wishing to have an opening reception may make arrangements to reserve a meeting room with the exhibit coordinator at the location where the work will be exhibited. The artist will be responsible for providing any publicity and/or refreshments. No alcohol is permitted.Please note that the following policies contain important deadlines:
  10. Within two weeks of being notified that a submission was accepted for exhibition, the artist must contact the Exhibit Coordinator to arrange or confirm the exhibit dates and other deadlines, especially for promotional purposes.
  11. At least two weeks prior to installation, artists must submit a draft of their promotional materials listing all works to be shown, together with the retail selling price (or, if not for sale, the insurance value). The listing must include the artist’s name, telephone number and instructions for contacting the artist to arrange for the purchase of any artwork. Artists are also requested to include a brief biography and artist’s statement. Artists must also provide individual tags for each painting or other work.
  12. Artists are responsible for delivering works to be exhibited to the exhibit coordinator. Art work accepted for exhibition may not be mailed to us nor will it be returned by mail. Installation will be handled by the exhibit coordinator with assistance from the artist.  Works are to be picked up by the artist within 48 hours of the conclusion of the exhibit – preferably on the actual date of closing since secure storage space is very limited.

Questions? Contact the Exhibit Coordinator via email or phone 703- 228-5996