Exhibition Proposals


The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is a non-profit institution which exists to foster awareness, exploration and understanding of the significant art of our time. Through excellence and diversity in our changing exhibitions and educational programming, MOCA stimulates individual thinking and dialogue throughout the Hampton Roads community

MOCA’s Exhibitions and Education Department works collectively to generate signature exhibitions and related educational programming. We hope to stimulate conversation, inspire creativity and increase understanding of contemporary art in the context of today’s society. Program offerings include group tours, studio classes and workshops, lectures, films, community outreach and family, student and teacher-based events. Our teaching philosophy in the galleries, studios and in the community also emphasizes interactive engagement and conversation. This approach is designed to be flexible and is intended to inspire both cultural and social awareness and to afford students and visitors a more personal experience at the museum.

MOCA accepts exhibition proposals from artists throughout the year. The Exhibitions and Education team reviews the proposals quarterly and selects with specific criteria in mind including, quality, audience, educational programming options, community engagement and partnerships, social concerns, diversity, medium and exhibition-type (traveling, museum-curated or juried).

MOCA Exhibitions and Education staff meets with an Exhibitions Focus group comprising of museum Trustees, artists, educators, art supporters and community members. The group provides a range of cultural and personal perspectives to MOCA’s exhibition development process. It offers valuable insight which aids exhibition staff when they plan the exhibition calendar. 

MOCA staff criteria for consideration when creating exhibition schedule:                         

  • Does the work address contemporary issues – socioeconomic, political, cultural, regional and global?
  • Is the work accessible for people from a variety of backgrounds and/or with different levels of education?
  • How does this exhibition contribute to the scholarship of contemporary art and art history?
  • How can the exhibition facilitate community interaction and collaboration through programming and partnerships?
  • Does the work allow for exhibition design, programming and special events which would offer layers of interaction and learning throughout the museum?
  • Has it been exhibited in our region before?
  • What makes it standout/unique?
  • Where are themes or concepts being explored?
  • Is this work suitable for a one person show or group show?
  • Does the work address any issues of diversity?
  • How is the exhibit marketable for MOCA?  How will it translate in terms of promotion?
  • How much will it cost? Where is it? Do we need special equipment? Does the work need to be conserved or is extra preparation needed for installation?
  • Is too similar to anything we have done in the past, thematic, medium, palette etc?

Artists selected to exhibit at MOCA will...

  • Understand that the Curators and Educators at MOCA will create an exhibition that encourages engaging and interactive experiences with the selected work.
  • Be invited to discuss and collaborate on the exhibition elements that foster immersive and participatory experiences.
  • Aid in the participation of MOCA’s audio tours by participating in a short, recorded interview.
  • Maintain open and straight forward communications with MOCA staff regarding any special needs or requirements for the work.

All proposals must adhere to the guidelines in the application. Click here for the exhibition proposal application. 

Please allow three to six months for the review process and include an SASE if you would like your materials returned. Because of the large number of proposals we receive, we ask that you refrain from calling the museum staff to inquire about the status of your materials; we will respond to you as soon as your review is complete. Questions, contact exhibitions@VirginiaMOCA.org

Installation View. Barnaby Barford at Virginia MOCA. Photograph by Glen McClure
Vik Muniz. Poetics of Perception Installation View. Art © Vik Muniz / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photograph by Glen McClure
Installation View. Gabriel Dawe: Plexus 28 at Virginia MOCA. Photograph by Glen McClure
Installation View. Andy Warhol: Portraits at Virginia MOCA. Photograph by Glen McClure
Installation View. Matt Eich: The Seven Cities at Virginia MOCA. Photograph by Glen McClure