What is a work sample? What is it for?

A work sample is a representation or documentation of your creative work.

Work samples can introduce you art to the world, communicate your creative process, demonstrate your commitment to your discipline(s), and explain what sort of creative work you do.

How are work samples for this award application different from typical work samples? (13:54)

  • Typically, work samples are intended to show reviewers examples of past work for future project funding. But this award is not project-based.

  • BANF is interested in work samples that showcase your your artistic practice.

  • Consider the work samples alongside the narrative questions.

  • With the work samples submitted, BANF celebrates the work of BIPOC artists in our community, whether or not they are awarded.

How do the work samples function in the application and review process?

  • Reviewers are looking for work samples that offer a view of an artist's career.
  • What the artist considers their best work.
    • "Best" here means not just high in quality, but also most able to reflect the artist's story told in the rest of the application.
    • Applications are not evaluated in terms of production values. The tools for high quality documentation (cameras, lighting, sound) are not necessarily available to us all.
  • That demonstrate the artist's commitment to their discipline and practice.
  • The work samples are only a part of an overall application.
    • Work samples don't need to reflect the artists service to Houston's BIPOC communities.
    • Work samples don't necessarily need to focus on a particular artwork or project.
    • The work samples don't need to encapsulate an entire career, offering a view instead of a career in terms of the narrative responses, which helps to tell the story of where the artist is today.

Are there tips for selecting and submitting work samples?

  • Think about how successfully your images represent the best qualities of your work, identify a compelling excerpt from your novel, or capture the essence of a time-based piece.

  • Have your work samples reviewed by other artists or peers, to get a fresh perspective.

  • Be aware of the maximum lengths allowed in the application and plan accordingly.

  • Keep in mind that the work samples are just one part of the selection process.

What kind of work samples are most recommended?

BANF offers no further recommendations on kinds of work samples. The application is open to as many kinds as possible, and the reviewers are ready to consider all kinds of work samples.

Can I submit unfinished work, ie. an excerpt from a novel I am currently writing?

Yes. Please use the work sample description to provide that context for the submission.

What permissions are required if portions of a work sample exists as, for example, current work at a state institution, or a recording from a private theater company?

Work samples are shared privately with BANF and the community reviewers. BANF will not publish or broadcast work samples from applications. For links to audio and video recordings, share a private link. Please indicate in your work sample description that such permission has not not provided.


What kind of work samples may be submitted to this award?

In general, these are what may comprise work sample submissions:

  • Still images
  • Sound clips
  • Video clips that show bodies of work
  • Excerpts of written or literary work

How many work samples may I submit? How long may they be?

These are the limits on quantity and length of work sample submissions. 

  • 10 images
  • 5-7 pages of written material (for example, excerpts of literary writing)
  • 5 minutes of an audio or video recording

However long your audio or video file or weblink may run, the reviewers may take no more than the maximum time to view or listen to it. However long your written submission may be, the reviewers may read no more than the maximum pages. Individual files cannot exceed a file size of 100MB each.

How will I submit my work samples?

These are the methods for submitting your work. You will be able to choose one method.

  • Upload images (maximum 10 image files)
  • Upload written material (maximum 1 document file)
  • Upload video or audio file (maximum 1 media file)
  • Provide a weblink to an audio or video recording
    • Be conscious of permissions for weblinks. Private links (rather than public links) are acceptable.
    • We recommend Google, Vimeo, or YouTube.
    • Avoid Dropbox: Dropbox links may not be accessible to community reviewers if the file size exceeds their account limits.

Advice for image submissions.

16:27 Helpful filenames, using work sample descriptions.

Advice for audio, video, & time-based submissions.

18:24 Possible file formats, time cues, editing for sustained focus, working within the time limit, using work sample descriptions. Please no promo reels.

Can I submit work samples from multiple disciplines, ie. dance and poetry and sculpture, or multiple audio/video URLs?

You may use the document submission (as for "written material") to very briefly list weblinks to multiple video or audio recordings on one page, or compile other media links or excerpts into a single document. Be sure to include time cues and recognize the time and length limits that the reviewers must observe.

See Excerpt from Information Session.