36 Reasons to Enter the National Open Art Competition

By Cloe Barrett, 5 June 2017


There is always so much to explain about National Open Art, so I’ve come to the conclusion that it is going to be easier just to list everything! I think for me our biggest asset relates to the facts that we’re a not for profit charity, and the competition is genuinely open to all 69 million+ of us resident in the UK and Ireland. We provide a fair opportunity to have your talent seen by top people from the arts industry, and the winning and selected shortlisted entries feature in an exhibition that demonstrates a cross-section of contemporary art, photography and film practice today. We genuinely improve people's lives and our annual exhibition that celebrates the people of the UK and Ireland is always offered with free admission to the public.


By entering the competition, at the very least you’ll be…

1 Supporting the NOA competition.

2 Supporting the arts.
3 Donating to a charity dedicated to providing a fair and open platform for artists for the past 21 years.

4 Judged anonymously on your talent.

5 Gaining experience.

6 Joining the NOA community.

7 Having your work considered by top professionals from the arts industry.

8 Potentially exposed to rejection (which is a good thing for any artist!).

9 Developing your practice.

10 Potentially shortlisted – also great for your CV and credibility.

11 Personally invited to the exhibition at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, this autumn.
12 Participating in a fun, rewarding experience

13 Taking part in what is widely known as the ‘friendliest competition’ on the market!


If you are shortlisted you could…

14 Be entered in the World Art Vote - our biggest annual online campaign to get the wider public engaged and voting for their favorite works.

15 Be selected for the exhibition.

16 Benefit from the help with deliveries to and from the second round of judging venue, thanks to Ward-Thomas Removals.
17 Have your own profile on the NOA website, which is beneficial to your own website's SEO and digital marketing efforts.

18 Sell your work.

19 Get great PR coverage.
20 Be exposed to new audiences.

21 Get networking opportunities.

22 Gain more credibility as an artist.

23 Increase your price point.
24 Receive recognition from the art world and the public.

25 Boost your confidence.

And at best…

26 You could win the 21st National Open Art Prize which comes with an £8,000 cash prize!

27 Be selected for one or more of the other 36 prizes and awards NOA have sourced.

28 Win cash to go towards new art materials, further education, tech equipment or just a holiday!

29 Apply for the Creative Awards.

30 Exhibit in a cutting-edge, contemporary and eclectic group exhibition in Central London.

31 Experience all of the above!


Why NOA?


32 If all of the above reasons don’t convince you, don’t just take our word for it… Discover us through the eyes of others on our Testimonial page.

33 There are strictly no invited artists, so all of the work at the exhibition is by open entries to the competition

34 It’s a fair platform open to all regardless of age, ethnicity or background.

35 We attract an eclectic mix of artists and people working in a huge variety of mediums from art to photography to film, as well as amateur artists from every walk of life, resulting in a diverse, cutting-edge exhibition.

36 Other artists have found it a really positive experience just by taking part or even just getting through the first round. Remember, every submission fee is a donation to our non-profit organization, which directly contributes to the exhibition offered to the public with free admission.


What does anonymous actually mean?


The democratic nature of our competition is what we are most proud of. Why? Because it’s fair. And that’s what we believe in here at NOA.


So, what do we mean by judged anonymously? When we greet our judges at the venue for round one, we invite them to sit together in front of a big screen on which each submission is projected. The only information they are given is the high resolution submission image (which can be magnified), the title of the piece, the dimension, the scale (demonstrated using a small stick figurine to the bottom left hand side of the screen), the medium, and the artists’ statement for context (in case they wish to learn more about the context of the piece). In the second round, they see only the work in the flesh – no title or statement, unless they specifically ask for them.


They do not know who the artists are, whether you are male or female, how old you are, where in the UK or Ireland you come from or live, your background, your education or your training, if any. We do not brief the judges and we do not dictate any percentage or quota for each category (e.g. painting, photography, drawing or young artists’ work). The only condition we ask of our judges is that if they recognise an artist they know or are familiar with, that they make their position known and withdraw from the selection process of that piece, leaving the decision to the remaining panel.


It is a totally organic process harnessed strictly by our judging panel alone. The NOA team are strictly prohibited from commenting on any of the decision process in both rounds and during the prize selection. It is only at the absolute end of the process after the judges have made their final selection and actually awarded the prizes that the name of the artist is revealed and thus their gender – always a very exciting moment!


Why does NOA need so much information up front if it claims to be judged anonymously?


When you register with NOA, it seems like there is an awful lot of information needed. But we want you to know that this is only for the team so we can administer the competition efficiently. For example, we have recently partnered with the British Journal of Photography, who wanted to see the selected and winning photographers from the past three years, along with their CVs, websites and social media handles, in case they wanted to feature anyone on their website. We also need comprehensive information so if you are shortlisted and/or selected, we can create your NOA profile on our website instantly, as well as the exhibition catalogue and programmes. We also make the CVs available to our NOA Private Collectors and provide a booklet of artists’ CVs at the exhibition for visitors to peruse.

All monies raised by our charity including sponsorship, entry costs, and art sales, are primarily to raise funds to support the Charity's aims and objectives.


The Foyle Foundation
The Arts Club
World First
Belmond Hotels
Welsh Award - Twr y Felin
Cass Art
Artists' Collecting Society


Galleries Magazine
Anthony Ward Thomas
Chessington World of Adventures Resort


Chichester College
Be Smart About Art
House of Fairy Tales
Pallant House Gallery