RWA Open Exhibition

Annual Open Exhibition Submissions

How do I submit work?

Please click here to enter: 

All applicants must apply online using the Online Exhibition Submission System (OESS) website -  

Please note that the system is different from that used for previous Annual Opens, so unless you entered our Drawn 2017 exhibition (which used the same system) or are on the "O list" from other Open exhibitions, you will need to create a new account.

If you are experiencing difficulty registering online, please read the OESS User Guide, available to download as a PDF below. 

Terms and Conditions are available to download at the bottom of this page: please ensure that you read these before entering. 

The Annual Open Exhibition is a two-stage selection process: works will first be either Pre-Selected or Not Selected online, and then all Pre-Selected works must be delivered to the RWA for selection in person by our panel.

How much does it cost to submit work?

Submission fees are charged per item:

£20 per item for General Public
£15 per item for Students
£15 per item for Friends of the RWA
£10 per item for RWA Artist Network members
Free Academicians

Artists, with the exception of RWA Academicians, are permitted to enter a maximum of 3 works made within the last 3 years.

What happens once I have submitted my work?

The closing date for online submission is Monday 21 August at 5pm. After this date no changes can be made to your application, so please ensure that you have submitted the correct details, attached an image of your work, and paid for your submission before this time.

All works will first be viewed by the panel online, and only Pre-Selected works will be put before the panel on final Selection Day. You will be able to check your Pre-Selection results by logging into your account on or after Friday 1 September.

General information

The Royal West of England Academy holds an Annual Open Exhibition, now in its 165th year. Anyone can enter their work for this mixed discipline show - previous years have included painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, film, sculpture and illustration, and attracted entries from artists across the UK and beyond. A selection panel assesses every entry and last year 575 works by 382 artists made it into the final exhibition. All work is for sale and the exhibition attracts art-lovers and art-buyers from far and wide.

2017's Invited Artists will be Royal Academy President and prolific painter, printmaker and sculptor Christopher Le Brun, and photographic artist Tom Hunter, primarily known for his work documenting everyday life in Hackney, London.

This year's panel of selectors will include Marie-Anne McQuay, Head of Programme at Bluecoat, Liverpool, writer, curator and lecturer James Russell and Joseph Clarke, Director of Anima-Mundi, alongside RWA President Stewart Geddes and Academicians Stephen Jacobson, Rachel Ara, John Maine and Sara Dudman. 

Prizes include;

  • A solo show at David Simon Contemporary,
  • Two memberships of arTag, a new electronic tagging portfolio management platform for artists, collectors and archivists
  • £500 worth of framing or printing, and a £250 cash prize from Niche Frames
  • Your work on the front cover of Evolver magazine
  • A full feature on you and your work in Evolver magazine

Key dates:

Online submissions opens - Thursday 22 June, 1pm

Online submissions closes - Monday 21 August, 5pm

Pre-selection results available - Friday 1 September, 1pm

Regional transport opens for booking - Friday 1 September, 1pm 

Regional transport closes for booking - Thursday 7 September, 5pm 

Academician hand-in day - Thursday 14 September, 10am - 5pm 

General Public hand-in day - Friday 15 and Saturday 16 September, 10am - 5pm

Final selection results available - Friday 22 September, 12pm 

Collection dates (1) - Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 September, 10am - 5pm

Varnishing Day Lunch and Private View - Saturday 30 September 

Collection dates (2) - Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October, 10am - 5pm

Collection dates (3) - Friday 8 December, 10am - 5pm

Collections dates (4) - Sunday 17 December, 11.30 - 4pm, and Monday 18 December, 10am - 5pm

Collection dates (5) - Friday 5 and Saturday 6 January 2018, 10am - 5pm


The 165 Annual Open Exhibition runs between 1 October and 3 December 2017.



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