Quality Work Samples

A quality work sample is one of the most important advantages you can give yourself in the panel process. Wonderful applications have been undermined more than once by unsatisfactory work samples. In many instances, there is a large amount of material reviewed within a limited time frame – your work sample must be high quality and relevant to the proposed project/grant.

Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing work samples for panel submission:


  • Images should show work – not background. No white sheets draped over chairs with your work propped up – no busy backgrounds – no shadows.
  • Work should be current and representative.
  • Digital images should be of the highest quality available to you. Generally, images of 1MB or higher produce excellent reproductions for viewing.
  • Follow instructions for digital submission – make sure your image is the correct file type (jpeg, png, gif, eps, etc.), size, and is labeled according to the guidelines.


  • Do not use promotional videos – they are generally not in-depth enough for panel review.
  • Your sample should be shot in the highest quality available to you.
  • Make sure the work can be seen. If the piece is generally dark, you may want to up the lighting for your work sample.
  • Choose a sample that shows the breadth of your work in a limited time span. A piece that starts off slowly (i.e. 50 seconds of slow set-up before the actual dance piece begins) may not be the best choice for a one minute work sample. You can always ask for the piece to be shown from somewhere other than the start.
  • The audio can be as important as the visual. If it is inaudible or patchy, it can reflect poorly on the sample.


  • Your sample should be recorded in the highest quality available to you.
  • Choose a sample that shows the breadth of your work in a limited time span.
  • Be sure to indicate which track/where to begin when submitting your sample.


  • If submitting electronically, make sure you are using the requested file type and that your pages are in order. Check your file to make sure it opens!
  • If only X number of pages are requested, send ONLY X number of pages.
  • Do not send photo-reduced copies of pages from publications; send original drafts instead. Samples should be easily readable.