Skip to Main Content

FLEET LIBRARY | Research Guides

Rhode Island School of Design

Exhibits: Proposal Process


  • Have an idea for an exhibit at the Fleet Library at RISD?

  • Want to guest curate an exhibit?

  • Interested in making exhibit development part of your course syllabus?



Fleet Library at RISD requires certain lead times for consideration of proposed exhibits depending on the size and scale of the project.


For full consideration, proposals for exhibits in the following spaces require the noted lead time:


  • Second floor exhibits - Proposals received 1 semester - 6 mos. in advance.

  • First floor exhibits - Proposals received 1 year in advance.

  • Expanded projects - Proposals received 1.5 years in advance.

Criteria for Selection

Upon receipt of proposals, you will receive a communication from an Exhibit Committee representative to let you know about the review timeline.


During review, committee members take into account the timeline of the proposal, feasibility of budget, any external circumstances such as cooperation of outside partners or loan requests. Additionally, acceptance will depend on the existing exhibits calendar and the availability of space during specific months and timeframes.


Fleet Library at RISD selects applications that answer more than one of the following questions:


  • Does the proposed exhibit help the Library achieve the goals of the Exhibit program?

  • Will the exhibit help broaden the audience of Library exhibits and expand patronage?

  • Does the project propose to use space in interesting ways?

  • Is the topic culturally relevant and thought provoking?

  • Does the project present or utilize new ways of thinking about and looking at collection items?


Exhibits at the Fleet Library at RISD must present accurate, appropriate, and fully articulated content. The use of organic matter in exhibits is discouraged to prevent pest infestation. Fleet Library at RISD reserves the right to reject and/or remove an object from the exhibit based on unstable structure and/or presents a threat to the safety of the collection or people.


External funding for exhibit proposals is encouraged.


Fleet Library at RISD is able to fund standard expenses for exhibits (e.g. printing and production of basic mounted labels, posters, lettering and graphics, as well matboard-constructed supports), as long as the number and complexity of requested items falls within the committee’s allotted budget for each exhibit. Budget details will be discussed at the kick-off meeting, if proposals are accepted.


Proposals should include information related to the extent of planned printing and production needs.

What to expect if your proposal is accepted?

  • Kick-off meeting (to include: conservation tutorial; exhibit scope, topic and material list discussion; design ideas walk-through; define regular meeting schedule)

  • Submit final checklist of exhibit items

  • Complete online form for individual label text

  • Submit design files for printing in accordance with size and layout standards

  • Assist with promotion plan


If proposal includes associate events, a plan for event coordination and promotion will be created separately at the kick-off meeting.