Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Call for Entries - RA Summer Exhibition 2018 - the 250th Anniversary one!

Digital entries for the 2018 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts can start being submitted online from tomorrow - 4th January 2018.

Grayson Perry is in charge of co-ordinating the exhibition this year which should make it very interesting - and also suggests that possibly we might see some works which have not made it past the selection panel in the past.

NEW! Theme of this year’s exhibition is "Art Made Now"

Grayson Perry wants to ‘show the diversity of work being made in this moment’ - and is encouraging artists to submit only work made in 2017/18.
“Fellow artists! 2018 marks the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy, so the Summer Exhibition will celebrate a quarter of a millennia of artistic innovation. As coordinator, I have decided that the theme of the show will be ‘Art Made Now’. I want to champion the democracy of the exhibition and show off the diversity of art being made in this moment, so I encourage you to submit works that you have made in 2017/18. I am also planning a special ‘Room of Fun’ in a newly built part of the Academy, so the committee may well look favourably on artworks that we find amusing.”
I wasn't a big fan of last year's summer exhibition (see Does the RA Summer Exhibition still have the WOW factor?) - but I really like the alternative perspectives that Grayson Perry comes up with - and I like the theme and the notion of a "room of fun" - so I'm very hopeful of a bit of WOW this summer.

Installation view of Summer Exhibition 2017 © John Bodkin/DawkinsColour

Plus this Summer Exhibition is the one in the RA's 250th anniversary year - so a very good one to be in!

The RA will also be celebrating the history of the Summer Exhibition for the last 250 years through the Great Spectacle exhibition - of which more in due course!

This is being held in The John Madejski Fine Rooms, Weston Rooms, Galleries I and II - which means some of the galleries normally used for the Summer Exhibition will be used for this exhibition instead. I expect the RA might want to show off their newly transformed RA campus which will be opening in May 2018 (fingers crossed).

The banner image for the Great Spectacle | RA website
Ever since 1769, and at a succession of locations ranging from Pall Mall to Piccadilly, the Academy’s exhibition rooms have been crowded for some two months each year with hundreds of paintings and sculptures produced by many of Britain’s leading artists.
This post is for:
  • for those who have NOT submitted before; 
  • for those who have need a reminder of what they need to do; and 
  • all those who need to be reminded why entry to the exhibition effectively closes BEFORE the deadline! 
I do this LONG POST every year. It covers the complete process
  • The Call for Entries Process 
    • who can enter 
    • what you can enter 
    • the website and key documents you need to know about 
    • how to enter: the timeline and process 
    • how the RA helps prospective entrants make a good job of their entry 
    • why it's important not to delay making a start on your application 
  • The Selection Process 
    • how it works 
    • Who's doing the selection and hang this year 
    • who's chairing the Panel (and I met her and had a chat at the back end of last year) 
  • The Summer Exhibition - including 
    • links at the end to my previous reviews of Summer Exhibitions at the RA - which include images so you can see what you're up against. 
  • PLUS TIPS: how not to get caught out - things to beware of and things to think about 
If I've spotted any changes or anything NEW I'll also highlight it below in the relevant section.

If you've spotted a change that I haven't please leave a comment!

Call for Entries Process - who/what/how and FAQs

The Basics of HOW to Enter

Go get your favourite cuppa and let's tackle the basics - and then the rest......
  • The How to Enter website is
  • IMPORTANT! Buy your entry form NOW! 4th January is the first day they are available for sale 
    • You cannot enter if you've not bought one
    • Once the first 12,000 forms have been sold, that's it. No more will be issued...
    • don't leave thinking about your entry to the last minute!
Submission is digital - follow the process outlined below

First you need to REGISTER
Please note registering for an account does not secure entry. To submit an artwork you must purchase an Entry Form.
Next you need to BUY YOUR ENTRY Form 
  • The link for purchasing a form is available from Thursday 4 January 2018 (I'll add it in here tomorrow)
  • NEW: The Entry Fee has increased by £10 from £25 to £35
  • Login to your account (if you've submitted work digitally before you can use the same account again)
  • Only one Entry Form may be submitted by You (the Artist or Contributor) for the Exhibition
  • You have a number of options - make sure you tick the right one - there is no going back if you get it wrong
    • I am an individual Artist OR I am representing an individual Artist
    • I am an individual Architect OR I am representing an individual Architect
    • I am part of OR representing a collaboration
    • I am representing more than one individual Artist
    • I am representing an Architecture Company
  • There are two types of Entry Form - make sure you buy the right one!
    • one for submitting one Work and 
    • another for submitting two Works
  • Buy your Entry Form / pay the fee (£35 per work) - one for each work - the RA will then email confirmation of your order/entry into the contract
Note that if you do NOT submit a work:
  • You cannot get a refund 
  • You cannot transfer the form to someone else
  • so basically money down the drain!
Next Complete the ARTWORK DETAILS on the ONLINE FORM & upload image
  • Fill in your artwork details using the online form. 
  • IMPORTANT Once you've bought a form you can do this at a later date prior to the deadline 
  • Upload image(s) of your artwork.
Images must be in one of the following formats: TIFF, TIF, JPEG, JPG or PNG. Each image must not exceed 3.00MB and should be at least 96dpi.
If you are entering a two-dimensional work, you must upload a primary image showing the work in its entirety.
If you think it would help the judges, you can also enter up to two secondary images showing details of your work.
If you are entering a three-dimensional work, upload three images, showing the work from different angles.

Even if you've bought a form and thus secured your entry - you still have to submit it!
  • Deadline for Entries: 23:59 (GMT) on Wednesday 14 February 2018. 
  • To complete your submission by that date you MUST have:
    • Stage 1: paid the non-refundable fee and got access to the digital online entry form (one for each work).
    • Stage 2a: completed entry details and submitted the digital entry form (previously purchased).
    • Stage 2b: uploaded digital images of the artwork.
    • Late submissions and/or excuses are not accepted.

Eligible Artists - WHO can Enter

Anyone can enter. So long as you bought your entry form in time... 
  • There are no constraints on age or where you live.
  • You can enter as a member of a collaboration (but your membership of that collaboration counts towards the limit on your entries)
  • You can even be anonymous and use a pseudonym.
(However if live outside the EU you will need to read this notice about VAT Information - International Artists (PDF) or your work won't get assessed.)

Eligible Artwork - WHAT you can enter

Original artwork: Artwork must be original and capable of being exhibited.

That means you either own the copyright or have all required permissions in writing.
By submitting a Work(s) when You are the Artist of such Work(s), You confirm that You hold all intellectual property rights in the Work(s) and that You have obtained any third party consents required for the use of third party owned material contained in the Work(s).

No. of works you can enter: 

  • A total of TWO artworks.  This can be
    • two on your own
    • or one on your own and one as a member of a collaboration
    • or two which resulted from a collaboration.
  • It costs you £35 to enter one work (£70 for two)

Media you can enter:

The exhibition showcases painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.
An original print is created solely as a print.

Ineligible works - what you cannot enter

The following types of work are inadmissible:
  • works that are over the specified size limit of 244 x 350cm (excluding sculpture and architectural models, where any one part should not exceed 200cm on the longest side and the total weight must be no more than 3,000kg when packed);
  • works that have already been exhibited in a major institution in London (excluding prints);
  • printed reproductions of original artworks (please refer to the FAQs);
  • works that contain noxious or toxic substances, have flammability below 50°C, contain human tissue, or incorporate dangerous electrical appliances. Note: all electrical appliances must be accompanied by current PAT test certification.
  • editions of sculptures cast in materials that are different to the materials of the exhibited work.
The electricity certificate requirement is new. I think I recall something being faulty last year.  They are taking no chances.  Note the deadline
once you’ve been notified that your work has been shortlisted, you must send a copy of your PAT certificate to by Thursday 10 May. If you don't supply us with a PAT certificate, we won't be able to display your work.

Very Useful Guidance - Recommended Reading

The RA has got rather good about providing helpful guidance to those submitting their work.  These are listed in the right hand column and include:

  • Terms and Conditions - This is the contract you enter into when you submit an entry. It's legal and it's binding. You can't ignore any of it if you don't like it. This is a simple MASSIVE exhibition and they need to tie things down....
  • Instructions for Entering Work - This is the one to print off with respect to what to do. Looks much simpler than previous years.
  • Frequently Asked Questions
REQUIRED READING for all those who need help with digital images

Both the following are excellent and well worth filing away for reference in connection with other open exhibitions and art competitions
RECOMMENDED READING - for those who don't sell their work in London
  • NEW Guide to Selling - This essentially codified previous advice about how things work and also focuses on distance selling via the website. I'm assuming they've taken legal advice about all the various regulations - and will have a close look at this later.
You are the seller of your artwork; the RA introduces you to the buyer via the Summer Exhibition and receives a commission for providing this service. All arrangements for the payment of the balance of the purchase price and collection or delivery of the artwork are made between you and the buyer.
RECOMMENDED READING - for those who need to get their artwork to London

The Selection Process

The selection process starts before you've even submitted an application. That's because
  • only 12,000 entries will be accepted and
  • you can't enter unless you have bought an entry form!

Selecting a Shortlist of 4,000

Only one third (4,000) of the digital entries will be shortlisted for the second round of selection. This section covers:
  • who judges the entries
  • how you get the results for your initial submission
  • what happen

Selected and hung

  • c.1100-1200 works will be included in the exhibition which also includes works by RA members.
  • Some two-thirds of the works included in the Summer Exhibition are likely to come from the Open Submission - that's c.725-800 artworks.

Key facts about selection:

  • All submitted digital images of works, and shortlisted works, will be placed before the Summer Exhibition Selection Committee.
  • The Hanging Committee changes every year. Views as to what merits selection is very much influenced by the individuals judging work. That means your work may be selected this year even if it has not made the cut in previous years. 

The Selection and Hanging Committee 2018

The flavour of the Summer Exhibition is set by those who select and the person who gets it all to "gel".

The Summer Exhibition Co-ordinator 2018 is Grayson Perry RAHe's responsible for how the exhibition is organised and the overall look - and we know he's good at that!

The hanging committee for the Summer Exhibition are the following Royal Academicians. Those elected in the categories of printmakers, engravers and sculptors seem to have taken over the show!
Have you ever noticed how many of the above do other things as well as the category they were elected in?


Print is always a major draw within the exhibition and sells lots and lots!
Emma Stibbon and Chris Orr are coordinating the print rooms and are keen to explore the range of techniques being used by printmakers today, from traditional methods such as etching to 3D printing and short experimental animations.
Architecture likes to do its own thing.
Piers Gough is coordinating the architecture gallery and aims to create a room of models at eye level. He encourages architects to enter three dimensional works of "all sizes and scales ... from rough ideas up to fully finished, in any medium" and, ideally, robust enough to be exhibited without protective covers.
My prediction is that those who draw will do well - whether as drawings or as prints - and whimsy and fantasy might be do well. 

Timeline for Selection

Previously the judges have rejected some of the shortlisted works before the hang. This year the works will remain at the RA for the duration of the installation period.
RESULTS - First and second round of Judging
  • 15 March - first round from digital images)
  • 26 May – final round (shortlisted work) - this year there is no second round and ALL works will be kept until the hang.
DELIVERY of shortlisted works for Judging
  • Architecture: 9 May 8am – 5pm
  • Sculpture  11 May 8am – 5pm
  • All other categories  10 May 8am – 7pm (i.e. Artist’s Book, Drawing, Painting, Photograph, Print, Mixed Media, Watercolour)

The Summer Exhibition 2018

the Summer Exhibition opens to the public on 12 June and closes on 19 August 2018. Prior to this there will be several days of previews for the thousands of Friends of the RA.

THE BIG CHANGE this year is that the Summer Exhibition will be in Burlington House, the home of the Royal Academy of Arts but will be in
  • Main Galleries and 
  • The Sackler Wing of Galleries
I do hope somebody gets that glass  lift overhauled before the exhibition - it's going to be going non-stop!

You can see what previous exhibitions have looked like in my reviews of them (on this Blog) in past posts listed below.

Previous reviews of the Summer Exhibition

Key facts:

  • The exhibition has been held every year since 1769! This is the 250th Annual Summer Exhibition at the RA.
  • It's a money raiser - the submission fees and commissions fund the organisation of the exhibition PLUS the activities of the RA Schools and other exhibitions put on by the RA
  • Prizes: prizes valued at c.£65,000 were on offer in 2016 (see FAQs). This was heading back up to previous levels after a dip of some £20k in 2015.
  • The RA charges commission but does not conclude the sale. You need to pay 30% for every sale concluded but the RA introduces you to the buyer, takes a deposit and you are then responsible for making sure the sale is concluded and the buyer gets their artwork.


These are a combination of normal remonstrations about things that can get you in trouble and and things that occurred to me while writing this post.


Summer Exhibition Specific

  • Don't misuse your Entry Form once bought - it's just not worth it. There are always other years....
In the event of misuse of Your Entry Form, where it transpires that You have used more than one Entry Form, the RA reserves the right to ban You from entering the forthcoming Exhibition and any Exhibition in the future.
  • Don't mess with legal title or copyright - your work should EITHER be your own completely original work OR if it has been derived from the work of others you need to be able to demonstrate that you have the permission to use that work - otherwise you might foot the bill for legal costs for yourself AND the RA in the event of a dispute. If You do not own all of the rights, title and interest in and to the Work, You must expressly inform the RA in writing of all relevant details concerning all other third parties’ rights to the Work. You shall indemnify the RA against all losses, liabilities, costs and expenses in respect of claims made by third parties alleging partial or total ownership of the Work or any rights in the Work, including intellectual property rights.
  • Do not mess with Health and Safety - there have been "issues" and you will own ALL the liability
You must ensure that each submitted Work conforms to all applicable health and safety standards and regulations
  • Don't let your gallery confuse the issue - You gallery cannot submit a work on your behalf unless it has already obtained your express WRITTEN authorisation to do so. So if you have any discussions with your gallery about submitting work, make sure you are 100% clear as to who is taking the lead and who is doing the paperwork.
  • If you're stuck on pricing:you can try consulting the section on How to Price Your Art on my Art Business Info website

This is what the stacks look like for work waiting to be hung in the Summer Exhibition
- and why you need to pad corners

Framing your art

All two-dimensional works submitted must be framed. The use of simple, neutral coloured frames is strongly encouraged. Metal, glass and Perspex clip frames are not acceptable.
  • All two-dimensional works submitted must be framed - and you need to pad the corners for the stacks (see above)
It is important that you remove your fixtures as they may not meet with our standards and they might cause damage to other artworks. If your shortlisted work is selected for the exhibition, we will affix our standard hanging fixtures to the frame. FAQS
  • If you submit an unframed work, this is strictly at your own risk.
  • You only have to frame one print - you can sell further prints from from the edition without a frame
  • You can also consult the section on How to Frame Your Art on my Art Business Info website
For sculpture and architecture models you should not deliver display plinths for your work

Prints and Pricing

If you are submitting prints - A large percentage of the c.5,000+ works sold at some summer exhibitions relate to the repeat sales of limited edition fine art prints. 

Fine Art Prints typically do extremely well in terms of sales because they are more affordable. However if you don't want to be out of pocket on postage and packing....
  • All prices stated in the Entry Form should include UK postage and packing for sending unframed editions of prints to purchasers.
  • If you are NOT legally resident in the UK - i.e. you are classified as an individual without a UK residence, do check out the situation with respect to VAT and READ VAT Information - International Artists (PDF) - their guide is good

Specific queries

For specific questions on the process not answered in any of the very specific Guidance Notes you will need to email the RA Summer Exhibition Team via the 'Contact Us' website form. Note that replies may take up to 3 working days.

I strongly recommend you make very sure that the answer is not aavailable in the information they supply before asking your question. There's very rarely anything new under the sun! :)

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