Exhibition Proposals

The Application Form can be downloaded here.

About us

We operate as a social enterprise celebrating and supporting talent in our city, with a focus on engaging our immediate community and broadening participation in the arts. We are led by a co-operative team of early career professionals, who support each other in order to learn more about running a successful independent art gallery.

We are a not-for-profit organisation which does not rely on funding for day-to-day running. We rely on charging for the hire of our venue to cover running costs, such as rent and utilities.

Black Box Festival (Nottingham Trent University BA Photography degree show)

Black Box Festival (Nottingham Trent University BA Photography degree show)

Aims and Objectives

  • Support emerging to mid-career artists, students and graduates

  • Provide an exhibition space that is a vibrant environment for creative practice and dialogue

  • Offer opportunities for artists and volunteers to develop skills and gain knowledge for their own professional development

  • Engage new audiences for contemporary visual arts

  • To uphold the importance of a co-operatively run art space

Selection process

Proposals will be assessed on the following criteria:


  • Make best use of our large exhibition space

  • Artwork must be contemporary

  • Stimulating and relevant themes


  • Exhibit high level of skill

  • Experimental and ambitious work and curation

  • Engagement with the community

Work is assessed on its merits, rather than the past achievements of the artist and there is no preference regarding medium in which the artwork is made.
We advise artists and curators to visit the gallery space before submitting a proposal to ensure awareness of the size of space the work must fill.
We hold exhibitions meetings every three to six months, in which all staff at Surface Gallery are invited to participate in the selection process. All exhibition proposals will be discussed, and those that meet our criteria will be successful. Once a proposal has been approved at the meeting, coordinators will be allocated to each exhibition in order to bring them successfully into fruition by liaising between the artists/curators and Surface Gallery's various teams.

Available Spaces

Gallery Space

This is the main exhibition space, and is situated on the ground floor. It is the space that everyone walks through our front door into. It has a grey painted floor, and white painted walls. The ceiling is four meters high. It features a lighting rig to professionally illuminate artworks, and has plug sockets installed so as to power equipment anywhere in the space. There is one large window at the front of the gallery, which is at street level.

The Gallery Space showcasing the resulting group show by our EM13 resident artists

The Gallery Space showcasing the resulting group show by our EM13 resident artists

Project Space

This is the secondary exhibition space, and is on our top floor. It has sash windows at both ends of the space, as well as a large skylight in the center. It is slightly larger than the Gallery Space, though the ceiling is lower. The walls have been painted white.
All exhibitions and events in the Project Space must take place during exhibition opening hours in the Gallery Space. We cannot allow public access to the Project Space while the Gallery is in a state of set-up or takedown, as there is likely to be tools and equipment lying around and we cannot guarantee that a member of staff will be available to invigilate. It is recommended that exhibitions in the Project Space run in parallel to those in the Gallery.

The Project Space: Castle Prize Residency and Exhibition 2016

The Project Space: Castle Prize Residency and Exhibition 2016

Le Loovre

This is our alternative art space in the first floor bathroom. It is most often used as an exhibition space by our resident studio artists. It is a working bathroom, with a toilet, sink and towel rail. The room has grey painted wooden floorboards, white painted walls and two windows. Most fixtures and fittings can be changed to suit the exhibition, including but not limited to; soap, towel, toilet seat and mirror.
Similarly to the Project Space, exhibitions in Le Loovre can only happen in parallel to exhibitions in the Gallery.

Chiara Dellerba's exhibition in Le Loovre

Chiara Dellerba's exhibition in Le Loovre


For hire of the Gallery Space, on the ground floor:
£400 one week
£600 two weeks
£750 three weeks

For hire of the Project Space, on the top floor:
£300 one week
£500 two weeks
£650 three weeks

For hire of the Gallery Space and Project Space:
£600 one week
£900 two weeks
£1100 three weeks

For hire of Le Loovre:
£30 flat rate

All prices include:

  • Two days set-up and take-down either side of the exhibition

  • Social media marketing on the run up to the exhibition and throughout

  • Use of our tools and tech area for set-up and take-down

  • Tech assistance (subject to availability)

  • Free internet access

  • Complimentary tea and coffee

Hire of the Gallery Space or Project Space includes:

  • A launch party from 6-8pm on the opening Friday

  • Flyer design, if needed, by Surface Gallery's in-house Design team

  • 500 A6 flyers printed on 350gsm paper

  • Flyers distributed around key locations in Nottingham city centre

  • Full invigilation cover during the exhibition

  • Our Marketing team will write a press release and distribute it online to What's On guides, publications and local press

Send in the Clowns, part of the NTU Festival

Send in the Clowns, part of the NTU Festival


Half the amount must be paid at the time of booking the exhibition to reserve the exhibition dates until the balance is settled.
A security deposit of £200 will be required at the time of booking the Gallery or Project Space. A deposit of £50 is required for Le Loovre. All deposits are refundable in full on successful fulfillment of the contract.
To secure dates, the full balance must be paid in full no later than one month prior to the start of the exhibition.

Further details

Full terms and conditions are outlined in the Exhibitions Contract. This is available on request, or will be issued following a successful exhibition proposal.
The prices listed are subject to review.
Additional days, exhibition duration’s or requirements can be discussed with the Exhibitions Coordinator. 
Any work exhibited may be for sale, however Surface Gallery will collect 20% commission.

At The First Clash artist talk

At The First Clash artist talk