- Today I'm going to summarise the major open exhibitions which relate to national UK art societies
- Tomorrow I'm highlighting the major art competitions
The definition of an Open Exhibition is that any artist may submit work to be shown in the exhibition. You don't need to be a member of the relevant art society.
Most of the leading national art societies are affiliated to the Federation of British Artists based at Carlton House Terrace and the exhibitions are held at the Mall Galleries. The major exception is the Royal Watercolour Society which exhibits at its own gallery - the Bankside Gallery next to Tate Modern. National Art Societies may also have members only exhibitions which are not included in this list. Some non FBA art societies also choose to have their open exhibitions at the Mall Galleries and have their exhibitions administered with the assistance of the FBA. Yet other societies choose to administer their open exhibitions themselves and locate their exhibitions at other locations and galleries.
Annual exhibitions of the major art societies normally follow well known schedule. You can find the detailed listing for all those showing at the Mall Galleries in 2009 on the website Mall Galleries - Call for Entries 2009. This also includes details of other national art societies not affiliated to the FBA and some of the major art competitions which also show at the Mall Galleries.
My dog-eared copy of the 2009 Call for Entries Leaflet
- details are also available online
- details are also available online
Dates and deadlines: One of the bonuses of art societies affiliated to the FBA is that details of their open exhibitions are always printed for wide circulation - details are always known well in advance and are now also available online (via a pdf file) for all exhibitions through to the end of 2009. I guess that's partly why they tend to attract a large number of submissions - and associated fees - which of course are always so important to the finances of any art society!
I find it difficult to understand at times why it takes so long for some of the other art societies to announce dates and details of submissions. My perspective on this is influenced by the fact that most serious artists I know who submit work to societies and art competitions tend to work to an annual calendar so that they can plan their work and exhibition submissions. Most actually start producing work well in advance of the dates when details are actually announced. Which is fine if criteria and dates are the same year after year and is very definitely not if they change! In my view, any exhibition by a national or major regional art society which seeks work from professional as well as amateur artists needs to take a lead from the FBA and to announce details of dates and submission criteria a good six months (or more) in advance of deadlines for entries.
Major changes: There have been some major changes to the normal schedule of exhibitons at the Mall Galleries and some exhibitions have moved months. For example, if you're used to seeing the Pastel Society exhibition in March, you need to know it's now showing in June! UKCPS have also changed their criteria for submissions in 2009. Details to be announced shortly.
Major Open Exhibitions in 2009
Here is a list of major open exhibitions - ordered by the date of submission. I've included the exhibitions at the beginning of the year even though the deadline has passed as the exhibitions are current or imminent.
- Originals 2009 - Contemporary Printmaking Show: receiving days (mid Dec./deadline passed); exhibition 18th-28th February, Mall Galleries
- FBA/Royal Society of British Artists: receiving days (mid-Jan/deadline passed); exhibition 17th-29th March, Mall Galleries
- RWS: 21st century Watercolour: receiving days (form) 14th Jan. (work) 15th Feb.; exhibition 20 Feb-15 March Bankside Gallery
- FBA/Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour : receiving days (early Feb./deadline passed) - exhibition 2nd-19th April, Mall Galleries
- Society of Botanical Artists: receiving day 23rd February; exhibition 24th April - 3rd May, Westminster Room, Westminster Central Hall
- Society of Women Artists: receiving days 6th-7th March; exhibition 23rd April - 2nd May, Mall Galleries
- FBA/Royal Society of Portrait Painters: receiving days 20th - 21st March; exhibition 7th - 23rd May, Mall Galleries
- FBA/Pastel Society: receiving days 3rd-4th April; exhibition 9th-21st June, Mall Galleries
- United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society: receiving days (form - TBA) 24th June; (framed works) 20th September; exhibition 21st September - 3rd October, Gallery 2, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists
- Society of Graphic Fine Art: receiving days (TBA); exhibition 5th-10th October Menier Gallery
- FBA/Society of Wildlife Artists: receiving days 14th - 15th August; exhibition 22nd September - 4th October, Mall Galleries
- FBA/Royal Society of Marine Artists: receiving days 11th - 12th September; exhibition 13th - 25th October, Mall Galleries
- Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Engravers : receiving day 22nd August (or post to arrive 17-20 August); exhibition 13th-25th October, Mall Galleries
- FBA/Royal Institute of Oil Painters: receiving days 25th - 26th September; exhibition 27th October - 8th November, Mall Galleries
- FBA/New English Art Club: receiving days 16th - 17th October; exhibition 26th November - 7th December, Mall Galleries
- Originals 2010 - Contemporary Printmaking Show: receiving days 11th - 12th December; exhibition February (dates TBA), Mall Galleries
- the call for entries, eligibility criteria for all submissions and details of how to submit for the the FBA shows plus certain others administered by the FBA are all available right now in Mall Galleries - Call for Entries 2009.
- The registration form (submitted with all framed works) and labels are available in the Registration Pack which is available to download as a pdf file. You can also obtain both sets of documents by writing to the FBA.
If there's one thing I'd like to see now it would be a rolling 12 month calendar (as a pdf file) providing all the details of dates and deadlines for future shows which gets updated on a monthly basis.
I'm sure people will remind me if I've forgotten to include any leading art society from the list - I'm well aware my listing is somewhat London-centric! :)