Annual Open Exhibitions

Annual Open Exhibition at RWA Bristol

Submissions to the RWA 168 Annual Open Exhibition have now closed. Our next Open Exhibition will be the Photography Open Exhibition (more information below)

We would like to say a huge thank you to all who applied to this year's exhibition. Income from submissions is vital to the RWA, an independent charity (1070163). It enables us to maintain our historically significant building, present our ambitious programme of exhibitions and deliver creative opportunities for young people and adults across Bristol. Your support is more important now than ever. 


Key Dates

Submissions open: Friday 31 July - Tuesday 22 September 

Final Selection results out to artists: Thursday 8 October

Hand in dates for selected works: Wednesday 21, Thursday 22, Friday 23, Saturday 24, Sunday 25 October  

Exhibition opens to public: In light of the recent government restrictions, we have had to make changes to the exhibition dates. Instead of commencing on 14 November, we will now open on the 2 January 2021. Participating artists and ticket holders will be notified.


Post-exhibition collection dates from the RWA:

  • Penzance: Thursday 11 March 2021, 4.00 – 5.00pm, hand-out of work by ArtWorks in Penzance Harbour Car Park, Penzance
  • Exeter: Thursday 11 March 2021, 12.00 – 1.00pm, hand-out of work by ArtWorks at Exeter Motorway Service area, (top of Car Park) Off Junction 30 of M5, Exeter 
  • London: Monday 15 March 2021, 12 noon - 4pm, hand-out works from Art Moves of Chelsea at Chelsea Self Storage, Blantyre Street, London, SW10 0EQ


About the RWA Annual Open Exhibition

The south west's original open exhibition returns from 2 January - Sunday 7 March 2021. 

The RWA's Annual Open Exhibition is now in its 168th 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 657 works by 451 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. Submissions are welcome from unknown, emerging and established artists, including RWA Academicians. 

Please note that this year, due to coronavirus restrictions, our selection process will take place entirely online. 

This year's selection panel includes RWA Academicians Fiona Robinson, Ros Ford, Seyed Edalatpour, Andrew Muñoz and Wendy Elia, alongside artist and gallerist Zavier Ellis, art writer and critic Anna McNay and Isabel Seligman, curator at the Bridget Riley Art Foundation.

Our invited artists are RA President Rebecca Salter and Royal Academician Frank Bowling

    Further reading on the RWA blog: Ten Reasons to Take Part in the RWA Annual Open Exhibition



    The Academy Prizes

    • 1st Prize £5000
    • 2nd Prize £1000 (sponsored by RWA Academicians)

    Prize for Artwork by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Artists

    • £1000

    The Work on Paper Prize, sponsored by Yvonne Crossley RWA (and The Drawing Gallery)

    • £800

    People's Choice Prize

    • £500

    The Painting Prize, sponsored by Derek Balmer PPRWA

    • £250

    Watercolour Prizes

    • 1st Prize £250
    • 2nd Prize £150

    Evolver Magazine Prizes

    • Winning artist to be featured in article in Evolver Magazine
    • Winning artwork to be featured on the cover of Evolver Magazine

    The Student Prize, sponsored by The Friends of the RWA

    • Winning artist to be featured in an article in The Floating Circle Magazine


    RWA Photography Open Exhibition

    As part of Bristol Photo Festival, a major citywide Festival of Photography taking place across Bristol in 2021, the RWA presents an open submission photography exhibition that will fill our main galleries. 

    Artists wishing to take part in the RWA Photography Open Exhibition can apply from Monday 11 January to Monday 22 February 2021. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when submissions open.


    Smith and Williamson logo

    The 168 Annual Open Exhibition is sponsored by Smith & Williamson.

    Photo credit: Alice Hendy 





    Find out more about our network of artists and how you can join them.

    168 Annual Open Exhibition

    Postponed until 2 Jan 2021 – 7 Mar 2021

    Bristol's Royal Academy presents it's 168th Annual Open Exhibition, showcasing some of the most exciting artists from across the country and beyond

    From Free to £7.95

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