The Exhibition

In the new visual arts curriculum  Part 3, The Exhibition is 40% of final grade.

This component is Internally Assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by an examiner.

The final exhibition is the culmination of the students' IB Art experience. Students present a selection of their best work in the form of a curated final show, and defend and articulate their purpose and intention in a written rationale.

Selecting work for the Exhibition

Choose the strongest, most resolved artworks which show these qualities

• technical skill

• appropriate use of materials, techniques, processes

• coherent relationships among the works  ( see A Coherent Body of Work )

• well resolved work in line with stated intentions in rationale ( what constitutes a Resolved Work ?)

• consideration for the overall experience of the viewer (through exhibition, Methods of Display or presentation).

(note: students can present work for the exhibition in any medium, having met the requirements for the Process Portfolio of working in a range of Art Making Forms )

Number of artworks submitted

HL 8-11

SL 4-7

Other Requirements

Exhibition Text

For each piece included students write a brief exhibition text (a few lines) which states the title, medium, size and a brief outline of the original intentions. Go to Exhibition Texts for discussion and examples of how to write an accompanying text

Exhibition Overview Photos

Students must include two photographs of the overall exhibition. This is to help the moderator (who won't see the actual exhibition) better understand the overall layout and experience. The image above is an example of an exhibition overview.

(note: only include the exhibition artworks submitted for assessment in the photos)

Additional Supporting Photos (optional)

Students may choose to include up to two additional photographs of each submitted work. This is intended to provide a sense of scale when showing large works or for pieces that have more than one viewpoint, such as sculpture or installation. These extra photos are not necessary for most studio pieces.

The Curatorial Rationale

400 words max SL

700 words max HL

This is a written statement that accompanies the exhibition. The Curatorial Rationale specifically addresses the body of work chosen for the exhibition. It explains the intentions of the student, considers the presentation of the work using curatorial methodologies, and the relationship with the viewer. (HL) For tips go to Writing Guidelines for Rationale or look at an Example HL Rationale

You can go to E submission for Exhibition for file sizes, formats and uploading info when you are ready

What are examiners looking for?

technical accomplishment

a coherent body of work

subtle use of complex imagery that visually communicates stated intentions

a curatorial rationale that justifies selection and presentation of work

The role of the Visual Arts Journal in the exhibition

Throughout the course students can use their visual arts journal to make notes of and reflect on their intentions while making their work, and they can be encouraged to document the developments of this thought process.

For the Curatorial Rationale students can make selections from and adapt passages from their journal.

The Visual Journal can also be used to plan the exhibition, consider the space, the display, the sequencing, the viewers role, and other curatorial issues.

For overall submission requirements and file sizes go to E submission Guidelines , and for the full assessment criteria go to Exhibition Assessment Criteria

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Comments 41

Zainab Taj 25 September 2017 - 07:07

zainab Taj
Hi Heather,
I have a students who chooses two art making form from column 3 one is Time-based and sequential art and other is digital screen based and the third form is painting. My question is how he will photographed these two for exhibition or he needs to upload in pdf form
other question can he do his PP in digital based

Heather McReynolds 25 September 2017 - 08:58

Hi Zainab, you have many questions, let me try to clarify: for the EX work can be in any media... files can be submitted in various formats, ( not as a single PDF) see exhib submission page
and documenting artwork
the Process Portfolio must explore several artmaking forms as detailed

Heba Yosri 7 November 2017 - 07:30

Hi Heather,
Does the student present some sketches for the resolved pieces in the exhibition?
Thank you

Heather McReynolds 7 November 2017 - 11:09

Heba, the sketches could be included in the PP, not necc for exhibition, however that depends on students curatorial decisions.

Heba Yosri 22 November 2017 - 08:00

Hi Heather,
My student did a piece for the exhibition, it's painting on a wooden chair. I know that it goes under the 2D forms, but i need to know how to reference the chair?
Thank you

Heather McReynolds 23 November 2017 - 09:57

painting on found object ( chair) ?

Dana Hoit 4 December 2017 - 13:49

One of my HL students has created dress for her exhibition. She has then created a Photo diptych of a model wearing the dress. She wants to exhibit them both as seperate pieces. I was unsure if this would be considered "double dipping" as the photos include the other piece in the image, however both pieces are addressed differently and have a slightly different meaning. Can she put them in as seperate pieces?

Heather McReynolds 5 December 2017 - 09:48

Hi Dana, this would only be possible if she was submitting these as photography rather than as dress construction- so emphasis on the quality and attributes of the photograph

Stephen Jones 17 January 2018 - 03:53

I must have missed it somewhere, but my students are asking if they can use work from their mock exhibition next month for their final exam later in the year. Yes or no?
Of course I'd be happier if they would make new things!

Heather McReynolds 19 January 2018 - 20:53

Hi Stephen, since your mock exhibition is not part of the assessed IB work then you can decide whether to include the work or not.

Stephen Jones 22 January 2018 - 04:15

Thanks for confirming Heather. I thought that was the case but it doesn't hurt to be sure.

xanthipi abel 24 January 2018 - 14:47

HI Heather, I have a student who recently has sold one of her paintings she created as part of her IB course work, she would still like to include it as part of her studio submission and exhibition to the IB she allowed to do so? if so she could print a life size photo of the painting to realistically represent the actual scale of the artwork for exhibition purposes exhibition?
Many thanks, Xanthipi

Heather McReynolds 25 January 2018 - 15:43

Xanthipi, if she can borrow the actual painting back for the exhibition then no problem, but a photo is not a replacement for a painting ;(...

Rhonda Ike 29 January 2018 - 15:57

Hi Heather,
i have a struggling student who's work is not up to par with the rest of the class. I have a gallery that has agreed to exhibit the student work for their final exhibition, but it must be up to a certain standard. His work will not be accepted, I am sure. I'm not sure what to do for him. Do I set up a separate space within the school just so we can photograph an "exhibit" for him? I would appreciate your feedback about what to do with this tricky situation. Thanks!

Heather McReynolds 30 January 2018 - 10:36

Thats a tricky one Rhonda... a separate space is an option for the exhibition but this is quite delicate for the student

xanthipi abel 31 January 2018 - 13:25

HI Heather, great, thanks for the reply, I'll let her know that and if she can't get it back she will just submit one of her other works. Thanks again!

emma porter 6 February 2018 - 09:29

Dear Heather,
I have a student that has intentionally decided to exhibit a collection of photographs that she wants to be presented as a lead up to her other artwork that she is exhibiting at the same time, but in a separate room. Is this ok that in the photographs all the artwork is not seen together? So her 2 exhibition pictures will be of 2 areas?
Kind Regards

Heather McReynolds 6 February 2018 - 19:24

Yes, she should explain the significance of this curatorial decision in her rationale

emma porter 7 February 2018 - 01:32

Perfect, thank you for your quick response and also thank you for your book it is very helpful.

Megan Emery Moore 8 February 2018 - 06:16

Can students put artwork in the exhibition that is not going to be uploaded to the IB site?

Heather McReynolds 8 February 2018 - 23:12

I assume you mean that is not going to be submitted for the exhibition component? Ideally no, this exhibition is a curated show of the work submitted. You can create other exhibitiion opportunities however!

Heba Yosri 11 February 2018 - 10:11

Hi Heather,
What If a student only displayed 8 pieces, which is the minimum number of pieces for HL; Does it affect the grade?

Heather McReynolds 11 February 2018 - 19:39

the minimum is acceptable and should not impact the grade negatively if the work is strong

Heba Yosri 11 February 2018 - 20:13

Thank you dear!

John Hawke 21 February 2018 - 14:47

Hi Heather,
A question about eligibility of a student work. A student found a photo of the chicago skyline on the internet, then made a colagraphic print on top of it using various leaves and twigs to transform the cityscape. The final result still clearly shows the photograph (which is not her work) yet it is also clearly different than the original photograph. According to the IB, is this artwork eligible for exhibition or not. If so, where exactly must the source imagery be noted. Thank you.

Heather McReynolds 21 February 2018 - 14:55

Dear John, I would advise the student to use the exhibition text space under medium to clearly state that this is a found photo ( sourced form ...) used as a base for her print making etc , then she can explain in the intentions space why she chose this image

Rae Reyes 11 March 2018 - 23:48

Hi Heather,
I have a student who is considering reworking a store-bought dress. Is the outcome an acceptable piece for the exhibition? Or is she supposed to create the entire dress herself? Thank you.

Heather McReynolds 12 March 2018 - 20:01

Rae , she will need to clearly state that this is a reworked store bought dress in the accompanying exhibition tex... better to create herself but i guess it depends what she does to it!

Rae Reyes 6 April 2018 - 06:55

Thanks so much, Heather!

Rae Reyes 6 April 2018 - 06:57

Hello again! I am unsure if there is a limit to the size of exhibition pieces. Are there limits as to how big (or small) the exhibition pieces should be?

Heather McReynolds 6 April 2018 - 09:45

no limit!

Marita Redondo 16 March 2018 - 18:26

Hi Heather,
I think I read that IB Exhibition artwork should not be posted on social media before it is graded by IB moderators. Is this true?

Heather McReynolds 18 March 2018 - 12:02

Hi Marita, its not recommended, but many do anyway and it hasnt caused any problems... yet ;)

Andrew watson 20 March 2018 - 12:51

Dear Heather
I'd be grateful if you could tell me if it is mandatory to have all 500 character texts in the actual exhibition and in the exhibition photographs.

Heather McReynolds 20 March 2018 - 18:02

NOT mandatory at all, its up to you and the students how you want to display...

RAJU DUBE 1 May 2018 - 09:12

Hi heather one of my students wants to do all his artworks using the technique of dry brushing but in different mediums like acrylic, water etc. Is it a good idea?

Heather McReynolds 1 May 2018 - 11:09

Hi Raju, sounds possibly limiting but why not take this as a starting point and see how it evolves?

Amanda Mackenzie 24 May 2018 - 03:24

Hi Heather
One of my students wants to include a video work in her exhibition, is this acceptable as a submission and how would we submit it to IB?

Heather McReynolds 24 May 2018 - 09:47

absolutely! She can submit it as a short video file,
Video: F4V, M4V, MOV, MP4
more about file types and sizes at

RAJU DUBE 18 June 2018 - 20:57

Hi Heather,
One of my students is deeply interested in the injustice against women in India moreover he has a personal connection to the topic as well. Is this a good exhibition topic?

Heather McReynolds 19 June 2018 - 20:40

Dear Raju, a strong exhibition is always well supported by the students genuine interest in the topic, and in the techniques, materials and forms of expression.

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