Annual Open Exhibitions callout text for 169 Annual Open Exhibition

Annual Open Exhibition at RWA Bristol

The south west's original open exhibition will return this year from Saturday 14 November 2020 - Sunday 7 March 2021. Now is your chance to be a part of it! 

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. 


5 Reasons to Apply to the RWA Annual Open Exhibition

  1. Amazing prizes are given to winning artists, including generous cash awards. This year's cash prize fund is almost £9000.
  2. Our Annual Open attracts art buyers from across the UK. All selected artworks have their own page on the RWA online shop where people can browse and buy online.
  3. We welcome submissions from artists of all ages and backgrounds, both emerging and established.
  4. All styles and media are welcome - from painting, drawing and printmaking, to photography, film and installation.
  5. This is an opportunity to exhibit in the UK's only regional Royal Academy alongside prestigious invited artists.

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

Submitting your artwork couldn't be easier via our online submission system. Submissions close at 5pm on Tuesday 22 September. Please note that this year, due to coronavirus restrictions, our selection process will take place entirely online. 


Selection Panel

This year's selection panel includes RWA Academicians Fiona Robinson, Ros Ford, Seyed Edalatpour and Wendy Elia, alongside artist and gallerist Zavier Ellis.

Our invited artist is RA President Rebecca Salter.



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


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: Thursday 22, Friday 23, Saturday 24, Sunday 25 October  

Exhibition opens to public: Saturday 14 November 2020 - Sunday 7 March 2021

Please see below for full Terms and Conditions.

To remain up to date on artist opportunities at the RWA, please make sure you are subscribed to our mailing list


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

21 Nov 2020 – 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

Art Exhibitions at the RWA, Bristol

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