This page offers guidelines to inform and educate artists about the basics of presenting artwork.


Works on paper should be matted and framed under glass or acrylic/plexiglass.  Consider UV protective glass to help preserve your color, which will fade from direct sunlight.


The mat should always be wider than the frame and be at least three inches wide (very small artworks may have a smaller mat, shouldn’t be less than 2 inches).

Using acid free mat board, as well as an acid free backing board (foam core or mat) will also help protect the paper. A neutral color mat will look most professional and not distract from the artwork.


For works that are matted, a hinge mount with linen or archival tape is preferred to allow the artwork to expand and contract in various situations of temperature and humidity. Works on paper may also be floated on the backing board. With this method it is necessary to make sure the surface of the artwork does not touch the glass. This can be accomplished with the use of mats or spacers.

Framing & Wiring

Frames should complement the artwork and not distract from it. The most suitable hanging devices for a frame are a wire attachment or D-rings, one on each side.

The weight of the piece will determine the type of wire or D-ring used. Make sure to use those that support the weight of the piece.

The standard measurement for attaching the wire is 1/4 to 1/3 of the distance from top of your frame. (Example: if your work measures 30″ inches high, the D-rings and wire would be attached 7.5″ to 10″  from the top.)  D-rings are best mounted to the sides of the frame about 1/4 of the way down from the top, with picture wire between.  D-rings need to be more like 1/3 down from the top for pieces that are much wider than tall.

The wire should not be strung too tight, as this will make it difficult to hang, or too loose, as then the work will not be as stable on the wall.  If the top of the wire in the middle is at least 2″ from the top of the frame. that is best so that the wall hook does not show above the frame.  Note that cable gallery systems accentuate any tendency for a picture to tip outward awkwardly.

Unframed Work

A painting on a stretched canvas should have a gallery wrapped edge (meaning the cut edge of the canvas is wrapped around to the back and staples cannot be seen when hung).  The exposed edges of a stretched canvas or cradled panel should be painted or stained with intention for a professional presentation.

Other Hanging Options

It is understood that not all artwork will fit into simple categories.  If your artwork has special hanging requirements, please contact the curator.  A French cleat is also an option for hanging (depending on the venue). You must include both the top and bottom of the cleat. Please be mindful of hanging extremely heavy work. The apparatus must be adequate for the safety of the work and patrons.  Non-traditional artworks may require special hanging devices.  Sawtooth hangers are not allowed in many venues.

TVAA Requirements

In our effort to encourage and display professional standards, artwork submitted for exhibitions must be framed and/or ready to hang with a wire, cleat or D rings when it arrives for installation, otherwise it will not be hung.  Sawtooth hangers on wall pieces are not allowed.  Note any special hanging requirements or limitations for the show venue.

If you have an issue concerning presentation or installation please contact the Exhibitions Committee at

Additional Resources

This site offers advice from a museum curator and has a list of questions you can print out to ask framers.

This is a YouTube video showing how to mat a print in an archival manner.