Friday, July 24, 2015

National Open Art Competition 2015 - Final Call for Entries

Don't panic! 2 days to go - says the NOA website!

You have until Sunday 26th July to submit artwork to the National Open Art Competition

What is the National Open Art Competition?

Normally at this point I include a short pithy sentence or two from the website which states succinctly what the aim of the competition is and how it is unique/different from every other competition

I'm a little bit at a loss as to exactly what the competition is as the "about" page on the website - which uses 'mission statement' as part of the URL - is very focused on telling me about WHO runs it and what their priorities are.

Safe to say it's an open art competition and it's been running for a number of years.

I actually don't have a clue from the website as to what makes it different from any other competition. The major difference so far as I can see is it is not based in London - however it does have a major exhibition at a prestigious London venue.

I wrote and asked about the competition and got a response from a lady who writes a nice letter who tells me
The NOA is run primarily by a small dedicated team always striving to find new opportunities for artists and provide them with a platform by offering the chance to exhibit at the annual Winter Exhibition in addition to a range of bursaries, residencies and commissions.
She then went on to say
NOA is one of the few Art Competitions that guarantee their artists work will be genuinely, anonymously judged. Work is chosen on talent alone and information such as names, age and career is withheld throughout both rounds.
All I can say is that the organisers must not be aware that this is a common standard amongst most of the competitions I know well.

I asked for statistics about the competition and I got some excellent data by return.  You can find a summary of data for the last three years in the Selection section below - and what it means in terms of the chances of being selected

NOA - How to enter

Who can enter

In order to enter you MUST:
  • live, or be professionally based, in 
    • the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) or 
    • the Republic of Ireland (√Čire).
  • be aged 15 years of age by 1 September 2015 to enter the Main Competition
  • be 14 years of age or younger by 1 September 2015 to enter for the Children’s competition, must 

What sort of artwork can you enter?

You can only enter original work
Undertakes that the work is of his/her own origination, and that he or she holds all moral and intellectual property rights in that work.
You can submit up to four artworks from a wide variety of media 
  • Paintings
  • Drawings
  • Original Prints (I think this means 'proper' fine art prints as opposed to reproductions)
  • Photography
  • Wall Hung Installations
  • Computer Generated Art, e.g. iPad
  • Moving Image
So - there we have it! This is the only competition I know if which has two distinct and unique categories for 'wall hung installations' and 'digital art'

The artwork is limited by size and duration and edition.  The website states
  • Max size of Artwork: Width : 183cm x Height : 183cm x Depth : 30cm including the frame.
  • Max duration of Moving Image: 3 minutes (180 seconds) including any credits.
  • ONLY Prints, Photographs or Wall Hung Installations may be "editions".
Artwork MUST be for sale at a sensible price.

The catalogue for the 2014 Exhibition is available online. It contains the titles, images, media and prices of the work submitted. This demonstrates that the standard of artwork is commensurate with other national art exhibitions although the prices perhaps demonstrate a much wider span.

You can see what sold from last year's exhibition on this page of the website.

What to submit

You first need to register and pay (via credit/debit card) the  £20 registration fee (which covers 1 image/artwork to be submitted)

Full details about entering online, including digital image requirements, will be given in the confirmation of registration email that you receive once you have registered or click here for more information regarding digital images.

You then need to submit ONLINE:
  • one high quality image only for each artwork. This must be 
    • a high resolution 300 dpi image bigger than 250kb and smaller than 2MB. 
    • true to the artwork and avoid including any unnecessary background. 
    • The art work shown on the image(s) must be available, if shortlisted, for judging at Chichester on 1 September 2015 and for all the exhibition(s) 
  • a completed submission form
  • an  additional £20 entry fee(s) for each additional artwork
  • an artist statement for each work (a maximum of 30 words excluding all personal details)
  • a pdf file of your current artist's CV (This will be published online so omit all personal data such as address or telephone number)

Deadline for entries

The final deadline for submitting work is midnight on Sunday, 26 July 2015.

Second round of judging

If your entry is one of the 500 works selected for the second round of judging, you will need to submit your work to Chichester University’s Brinsbury Campus, in Pulborough, West Sussex, between 26 and 29 August.


Chances of being selected

Below you can see a summary of data for the last three years in terms of the number of artists who submitted entries, the number of entries received, the number of works shortlisted, the number exhibited and the number who won prizes.

PS I couldn't find anything about prizes on the website

I can confirm that the odds of being selected are not dissimilar to other major UK art competitions with major cash prizes.

2012 2013 2014
Artists  1,277  1,909  2,212
Submissions  2,181  3,269  3,622
Shortlisted  527  354  522
24% 11% 14%
Exhibited  97  96  124
4% 4% 3%
Prizewinners  23  22  31
1% 1% 1%

Selection Panel

This year's panel includes
You can see a profile of the judges on the website

Digital images of submissions for the Adult Competition will be projected and judged by the Selection Panel on Monday 3rd August at the Arts Club, Dover Street, on Monday 3 August 2015

They will produce a longlist of 500 works which will be announced on 5 August.

The NOA intend to launch the World Vote on 5 August, a new initiative that gives people the chance to vote online for their favourite long-listed artist. The winner of the World Vote will automatically go through to the RCA.

If you are shortlisted for the second round of judging - to produce the so, you are required to send your work by post in a Stiffy Bag Prices start from as little as £3.

The shortlist of approximately 100 works for the Exhibition at the RCA will be take place on 1 September and be announced shortly thereafter.


There are a number of ways in which the selected artwork will be exhibited. Here's a summary of the information from the Exhibitions page on the website
  • A pop-up exhibition will be held in the Barons Hall, during the Arundel Festival 2015 at Arundel Castle , West Sussex, BN18 9AB between 22 - 31 August 2015  
  • The 2015 Ex hibition of the National Open Art Competition will be held at the Royal College of Art between 21 October to 1 November 2015
  • All exhibition and shortlisted works are available on the online Galleries – a very popular selling platform
  • The 500 works of art (including artists CVs, images & details of the artwork) will then be posted on NOA’s website and will remain there for sale.

Artworks are for sale and 50% commission is deducted from the price.

Proceeds from sales from the NOA Collection and Competition contribute to helping NOA continue its mission to encourage artistic achievement and to NOA’s chosen charity, The House of Fairytales, which helps children and young people engage with art.

For further information, please visit


Bea Roberts said...

Thank you for this detailed information. There's a couple of reasons I would not enter this competition; £20 per entry. That is A LOT. By the nature of being a more or less self representing artist, (being very poor, to be blunt) that sort of money is just too much to risk. Enter 2 pieces and that's £40 - or 3 weeks plus shopping budget in order to eat!

Also, looking at the 'sold' paintings from last year, there is quite a small percentage that actually sold, therefore there's a good chance you won't get your submission fee back, and that's even if you are chosen to exhibit. On top of all this, if your work was chosen, you have the expense of getting your piece(s) to / from West Sussex.

I don't wish to come across as negative, however, one has to be realistic, and I feel it's a somewhat elitist competition therefore. I understand it is usual (mostly) to pay a submission fee to events such as this, and I have no problem with this - I enter open exhibitions myself, and make a judgement as to whether it's going to be overall worth my while, but I only submit to those which I feel offers a chance to ALL artists, with a reasonable submission fee, not to ones which only 'well off' folks can afford to enter to get their art in front of a winder audience.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Well the fees for art competitions do vary a lot. Are the art competitions you enter local ones or national? The fee level does vary quite significantly.

I have to confess that this level of fee is one I associate with an art competition with major cash prizes (e.g. £10k plus first prize) or major prestige venues (e.g. the RA).

The cost of getting artwork to venues has always been a major issue for national art competitions however I think we need to keep this in proportion.

The introduction of digital entry is a major bonus all artists in all art competitions and it's good to see that this competition not only has digital entry but also has some useful tips on how to take a photograph.

Let's also not forget that transport costs are NOT going to be relevant for the c.85% of artwork which is NOT shortlisted for the second round of judging in person.

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