How to Prepare for a Great IB Visual Arts Exhibition: Essential Guide

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In this article, we will give you tips on how to prepare for IB Visual Arts Exhibition to achieve your academic objectives while staying true to your artistic vision.

You have to follow certain rules, standards, and guidelines to succeed, and here we show you how.

The IB Visual Arts Exhibition is the final leg of your IB VA journey. This event is a unique blend of examination and showcase of your artistic skills. However, it is not a free-for-all expression of your creativity.

What is IB Visual Arts Exhibition?

The Exhibition, along with Comparative Study and Process Portfolio, is one of the milestones of the IB Visual Arts course. In its essence, it is a curated selection of your best artworks, which you have created during the two years of study. Each individual piece comes with a written rationale explaining your intentions and influences.

Not only does the IB Visual Arts Exhibition contribute 40% to your total result, it also provides an opportunity to demonstrate your artistic proficiency, creative perspective, and personality to a wider audience. While in itself it is a form of Internal Assessment, in a broader sense, it is a celebration of students’ artistic journey, as well as a chance to engage with the community and receive recognition for their talent and hard work.

Key Differences in the SL and HL Exhibition

The exhibition is an essential component of the IB Visual Arts course for both Standard and High Levels. However, there are a few key differences in the way this Internal Assessment is approached.

If you are an SL student, you need to submit 4-7 artworks. At the same time, it is required to provide 8-11 artworks at HL. Each piece should be accompanied by exhibition text of up to 500 characters. Regardless of your level, this text should contain the following:

  • Title;
  • Medium;
  • Artwork size;
  • Intentions of work;
  • Sources that impacted or inspired artwork;
  • Sources of objects within the medium (self-made, purchased, reused, found, etc.).

Besides that, students provide a curatorial rationale of 400 (for SL) or 700 (for HL) words. A curatorial rationale is a statement that explains intentions and influences for your IB Visual Arts Exhibition. With it, you are able to communicate your concepts, as well as explain your challenges, accomplishments, and issues that impacted the selection of your artwork.

There are no specific requirements for the curatorial rationale. That being said, when presenting your body of work for the Exhibition, you should try to answer some questions, such as: What do you hope to achieve through your artwork? What is the impact you intend to have on your audience? Which issues, motifs, or ideas have you explored? What are the themes that emerge from your work and the experiences that have influenced it?

Finally, your IB Visual Arts Exhibition submission may include two optional photographs per each artwork. Their purpose is to highlight specific details or provide a sense of scale. For instance, such photographs may capture a pattern that is not visible from afar.

Assessment Criteria for IB Visual Arts Exhibition

A high-quality Exhibition can bring a maximum of 30 marks, which accounts for 40% of the total score regardless of the Level. These marks are divided across 4 criteria:

– Criterion A: Coherent body of works (9 marks). This criterion assesses how coherent your artwork collection is, and whether it is possible to trace a common theme or style across individual pieces.

– Criterion B: Technical competence (9 marks). With this criterion, examiners evaluate the application and manipulation of media, materials, as well as formal qualities.

– Criterion C: Conceptual qualities (9 marks). It examines how well a student is able to incorporate visual elements (such as imagery, signs, or symbols) in the artwork to convey their intended ideas, emotions, or concepts.

– Criterion D: Curatorial practice (3 marks). This assessment criterion considers the effectiveness of the curatorial rationale in providing a thoughtful justification for the choices made in terms of artwork selection, arrangement, and exhibition layout. Besides that, at HL it evaluates how effectively the exhibition engages and connects with viewers.

How to Prepare for IB Visual Arts Exhibition

The IB Visual Arts Exhibition is an exciting experience that allows you to develop your artistic voice. Stick to the following tips to get the best score possible:

Focus on a Single Theme

Delve into the depths of your imagination and choose a captivating theme that ignites your artistic passion. Select a concept or idea that resonates with you personally and offers ample room for exploration and interpretation. Whether it’s a thought-provoking social issue, an introspective exploration of identity, or a celebration of nature’s beauty, let your theme be the driving force behind your artistic creations.

Develop a Coherent Collection

All individual pieces of art selected for the Exhibition should harmoniously connect like threads in a grand tapestry. The goal here is to maintain both stylistic and thematic coherence throughout your body of work. Style-wise, you can achieve this by consistent use of colour, layouts, fonts, recurring motifs, or a distinct artistic style.

Carefully Choose Your Artworks

Select artworks that showcase your technical skills and conceptual brilliance. Be discerning in your choices, handpicking the pieces that best exemplify your artistic growth and reflect your intentions. If you find yourself torn between multiple options or unsure about the quantity to exhibit, seek the guidance of a tutor who can help you make informed decisions or refine your selection.

Curate Your Exhibition

You need to think about how you can transform the exhibition space and transports the viewers into your artistic realm. Take on a role of a curator as you consider the arrangement, lighting, and spatial relationships between your artworks. Keep in mind your objective to create a narrative progression where each artwork adds to the overall impact.

Seek Feedback and Revision

Share your artworks with trusted peers, teachers, or tutors who can provide constructive insights. Use their perspectives as stepping stones for refinement and the opportunity to reach new artistic heights. You can also draw inspiration from Exhibitions carried out in previous years to see what worked best.

Document Your Artistic Process

Keep a record of your artistic process, including sketches, notes, and documentation of the evolution of your artworks. These records will serve as evidence of your creative journey and can also be included in your Process Portfolio.

Practice Presentation and Public Speaking

Prepare yourself to confidently present your artworks and articulate your artistic ideas during the Exhibition. Be ready to discuss your artworks, their conceptual underpinnings, and the techniques employed. This practice can help you engage with viewers and effectively convey the significance of your work.

Help For Your IB Visual Arts Exhibition 

The Exhibition is a culminating event of your IB Visual Arts course. While being a form of assessment, it is also an occasion to leave a lasting impact on your audience and show off your talent. You need to meticulously plan and prepare for it to meet your academic and creative goals alike.

Do you feel overwhelmed and not sure which pieces of art to present? Or maybe you’re looking for ways to make your art collection more cohesive? If so, TutorsPlus are ready to come to the rescue.

As a team of experienced Visual Arts IB tutors, we have been a reliable educational partner for students like you for nearly two decades. You can count on us to provide the support and advice you need to excel in your artistic endeavours.

From selecting the right artworks to curating your exhibition and honing your presentation skills, our expertise can help you reach your full potential. So don’t hesitate to contact us at or 022 731 8148 and complete your IB Visual Arts Exhibition with a bang.

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