Olson Gallery Guest Curator Agreement

Guest Curator Rights, Privileges and Recognition

In consideration of the guest curator’s contributions to the exhibition, the Olson Gallery offers the following.

Exhibition Subject

The guest curator will determine the subject and intellectual focus of the exhibition in consultation with the Olson Gallery and Exhibitions and Visiting Artists/Scholars Committee (EVASC) as necessary.

Exhibition Installation

The Olson Gallery staff will fully coordinate with the guest curator on the exhibition’s design and layout.


The guest curator will be cited as “curator” of the exhibition in Olson Gallery publications, including press releases, the website and the exhibition introductory wall credits.

Guest Curator Obligations

To fulfill the role as guest curator, the guest curator agrees to the following and will meet all deadlines set forth. (If circumstances require the Olson Gallery to extend the exhibition opening date, all deadlines contained herein will be extended accordingly.)

Olson Gallery Coordinator

The guest curator will coordinate and consult on a regular basis with the Olson Gallery coordinator, who coordinates logistical issues associated with the exhibition. The Olson Gallery coordinator is the official School of Art and Design (SOAD) representative for official communications outside of the SOAD and who ensures that university policies are followed. The Olson Gallery coordinator is the guest curator’s primary contact for the Olson Gallery via phone and/or email. The guest curator and gallery coordinator will communicate on a regular basis.

Exhibition Description

The guest curator will provide a description of the exhibition between 500 and 1,000 words in an electronic format. It is understood by all parties that this description is wholly available to the Olson Gallery for the purpose of being adapted for promotional materials. The description must be delivered to the Olson Gallery within 30 days of signing the guest curator agreement, along with a working title for the exhibition.


A checklist of the exhibition that includes artist/maker, title, date, medium, dimensions and collection (including contact information for private collections) will be provided by the guest curator. The Olson Gallery coordinator will be available to assist in the preparation of this document, but will rely upon the guest curator for both general and specific content.

A preliminary checklist must be delivered to the Olson Gallery within 15 days of signing the guest curator agreement and will require the gallery coordinator’s approval for the sole purpose of considering the feasibility, economy and security of the loans. A final checklist must be delivered to the Olson Gallery coordinator within 30 days of signing the guest curator agreement to be used by the Olson Gallery to make loan requests.

The guest curator agrees to provide a sentence or two for each object on the checklist or for each lender as appropriate explaining why the objects are important to the exhibition. (This information will be used in the loan request letters.) If possible, the guest curator should suggest alternate objects in case the requested work is unavailable. (Please be aware that the Olson Gallery has no control over the decisions made by the lending institutions or individuals.)

Exhibition Didactics

The guest curator will provide didactic texts for the exhibition in electronic format no later than 90 days prior to the exhibition opening, and will assist in subsequent revising, editing and proofreading. The exhibition didactics will include introduction, section/subject texts and extended interpretive labels, and will be written in accordance with best gallery practices. The guest curator and the Olson Gallery coordinator will determine the number of sections needed for explaining the exhibition’s themes and select any particular objects that would benefit from extended labels.

Gallery Talks

The guest curator agrees to present one gallery talk during the opening reception and a related talk during the run of the exhibition.

Olson Gallery Obligations

The Olson Gallery is obliged to retain authority over and final approval of all exhibitions mounted under its auspices. Final decisions concerning the exhibition’s checklist, budget, schedule for display, promotional materials and installation are that of the Olson Gallery. In support of the guest curator’s work, the Olson Gallery will undertake the following.

Loan Requests

The Olson Gallery will coordinate all loans based on the final checklist. (The Olson Gallery is obliged to hold authority over all loans under its care and must follow requirements for the loaned objects’ handling, shipping and display set forth by the lender.)


The Olson Gallery will determine and manage all budgets related to the exhibition, its installation at the Olson Gallery, its promotion and its educational programming. All budgets are subject to the Olson Gallery coordinator’s final approval.

The scale, scope and details of the exhibition will depend on the amount of support the gallery is able to secure from its parent organization, the NIU School of Art and Design.


The Olson Gallery assumes responsibility for the promotion of the exhibition and its related programs to the press and public. The guest curator’s consultation and cooperation to that end is greatly appreciated. Press releases will be submitted for the guest curator’s approval prior to dissemination.

Public Programs

The Olson Gallery will assume responsibility for coordinating and organizing all educational and public programs to coincide with the exhibition. The guest curator’s guidance and consultation on topics and appropriate speakers is helpful and welcome, as is the guest curator’s participation in these programs.


The Olson Gallery staff will pack, unpack and handle all artworks and control access as required by the lending institutions to all artworks under its authority and care before, during and after installation.

Exhibition Publication

It may be determined appropriate to the exhibition to produce a publication such as a gallery guide, brochure or catalogue. The scope of any publication will be made in consultation with the guest curator and based upon several considerations, including financial and time feasibility, and scholarly merit.

Delays and Cancellation

Signatories to this agreement are obligated to fulfill all responsibilities cited herein. If the guest curator is not able to meet deadlines stated herein for any reason, the Olson Gallery reserves the right to make all necessary decisions for the purpose of advancing the exhibition toward its scheduled opening date or to cancel the exhibition at its discretion.


If any below date falls on a weekend, the effective due date is the following Monday.

Due Date Item
February 1 Proposals delivered to Jack Olson Gallery.
February 2-14 Exhibitions and Visiting Artists/Scholars Committee (EVASC) review period.
February 15 Olson Gallery coordinator contacts lead exhibition proposers, informing them of the outcome of EVASC’s review of their proposal.
March 1 Signed agreement for accepted proposals due to Olson Gallery coordinator.
March 15 Preliminary exhibition checklist due.
April 1 Exhibition description due (500-1,000 words in an electronic format).
Final exhibition checklist due.
June 1 Didactic texts due (electronic format) for exhibitions opening in September.
August 15 Works at Olson Gallery for exhibitions opening in September.
October 15 Didactic texts due (electronic format) for exhibitions opening in January.
January 7 Works at Olson Gallery for exhibitions opening in January.

Signatures and Binding Agreement

This agreement and its attachments constitute the entire understanding between the Olson Gallery and the guest curator with regard to the exhibition. By signing this agreement, the Olson Gallery and the guest curator have caused this agreement to be legally binding as of the dates written below.

Contact Us

Jack Olson Gallery
Jack Arends Hall


Monday through Thursday
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Closed on university holidays and between exhibitions.