Black Swan Arts Open 2018

Closed Saturday 22nd September 2018

Call to artists flyer advertising Black Swan Arts Open 2018

We are no longer accepting entries

Exhibition dates: 19 October – 24 November

Preview: Thursday 18 October, 7.30-9pm

Location: Black Swan Arts, 2 Bridge Street, Frome BA11 1BB

Contact: Morag Stuart,
01373 473980

The prestigious Black Swan Art Open is an annual competition that welcomes entries of original works from established practitioners and emerging artists of all professions and disciplines. Work can be submitted in any medium and in almost any size – from painting, drawing and printmaking to photography, sculpture and ceramics.

This year’s judging panel includes Michael Eavis, creator of Glastonbury Festival; Johnny Messum, founder of Messums Wiltshire; Steve Burden, winner of the Black Swan Arts Solo show prize; artist Sue Conrad and Debbie Hillyerd of Hauser & Wirth Somerset.

The many prizes include the first prize of £1000 supported by Hauser & Wirth Somerset, the Sue Conrad Prize of £1000 for work on paper and the Black Swan Arts prize of a solo show

In 2017, the Black Swan Arts Open attracted over 900 entries from almost 500 artists. We have built an impressive reputation for attracting some of the best artists from the South West, with our expert judges selecting diverse and innovative pieces and championing artistic excellence. The successful entries will be on show at Black Swan Arts from 19 October –24 November.

Art Open 2018 Judges

Art Open judge 2018 - Steve Burden

Steve Burden
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Art Open judge 2018 - Sue Conrad

Sue Conrad
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Art Open judge 2018 - Michael Eavis

Michael Eavis
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Art Open judge 2018 - Debbie Hillyerd

Debbie Hillyerd
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Art Open judge 2018 - Johnny Messum

Johnny Messum
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Over the past fifteen years, the Black Swan Arts Open has built an impressive reputation for attracting some of the best-established practitioners and emerging artists from the South West, with the judges selecting diverse and innovative pieces and championing artistic excellence. In 2016, the Open attracted over 700 entries from 350 artists.

The event offers artists the chance to have their work viewed by a panel of highly respected judges and potentially to be exhibited at a regionally important gallery seen by thousands of visitors. The successful entries will be on show at Black Swan Arts from 2–29 November.

The panel of judges for 2017 includes Mariella Frostrup, journalist and broadcaster; Gary Sangster, trustee from the Arnolfini, Bristol; Stephen Snoddy, director of the New Art Gallery, Walsall; Dea Vanagan, director of Hauser & Wirth Somerset; and Seamus Nicolson, artist and 2015 winner of the Black Swan Arts Solo show prize.

Shortlisted artists have the chance of winning a series of impressive prizes, including the Hauser & Wirth Somerset first prize; the Black Swan Arts prize of a solo show; the Frome Town Council/People’s Choice Award (voted for by the public over the course of the show); the Mount Art prize for artists in full-time education; the Postscript 3D prize of art materials; the Sam’s Kitchen prize for local art; the Babington House prize and the Friends of Black Swan Arts prize.

The competition is open to every artist and any medium will be considered – painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture and ceramics.


  • Hauser and Wirth Somerset Prize – £1000
  • Sue Conrad Prize for works on paper – £1000
  • Black Swan Arts, Programming Group – Solo Show in 2019/20
  • Babington House Prize – Mentoring lunch with Kate Bryan, Head of collections, Soho house
  • Kobi & Teal – Solo exhibition
  • Emerging Artist – £200 framing at Mount Art
  • Local artist Prize – artists materials worth £100 from Postscript
  • BSA Friends – lifetime membership
  • BSA Guild – 12 months membership
  • People’s Choice Award

Benefits of Entering the Arts Open

  • Have your work seen by hundreds of visitors
  • Be assessed by a group of highly qualified judges
  • An excellent place to sell your work
  • Possibility of winning prestigious prizes
  • Raise your profile through a wide variety of media coverage
  • Have provenance added to your artwork

Important Dates

  • Extended deadline for entries: 21 September
  • Selection day: 19 September
  • Email to artists selected: by end of September
  • Photos and biogs of selected artists: required by 1 October
  • Delivery to Black Swan: 7-9 October
  • Artists Preview: 18 October
  • Exhibition: 19 October – 24 November

2017 Art Open Judges

Each Art Open has a different panel of judges who are independent of the Board of Trustees or the Programming Group.

The 2017 panel of judges included

  • Mariella Frostrup, writer and broadcaster for Radio 4’s Open Book and former presenter of Sky Arts Mariella’s Book Show
  • Seamus Nicolson, photographic artist and winner of BSA 2016 Open
  • Gary Sangster, UNSW Art & Design faculty, Consulting Director of Drawing Projects, Bridge House, Trustee of Arnolfini, Bristol
  • Stephen Snoddy, a painter with a background for running museums and galleries. Founding Director of Milton Keynes Gallery
  • Dea Vanagan, Director at Hauser & Wirth Somerset since 2016 and Trustee of the Bomb Factory Art Foundation

2017 Art Open Prize Winners

For full details of 2017 prizes and winning entries, visit ‘2017 Art Open Prize Winners

Empty Vessels by Fiona Hingston

Fiona Hingston
‘Empty Vessels’

Video still from 'Tablemouth' by artist Katherine Fry

‘Tablemouth’ Katharine Fry

Into Elysium by Jenny Graham

Jenny Graham
‘Into Elysium’

Interference Fit by Steve Joyce

Steve Joyce
‘Interference Fit’

Bound to the Mill by Annie Ward

Annie Ward
‘Bound to the Mill’

Antique Memory by Dan Morley

Dan Morley
‘Antique Memory’

no.45-2015 by Susan Phillips

Susan Phillips

Andrea Clark Evening 2

Andrea Clark
‘Evening 2’

Videotopia by Volkhardt Mueller

Volkhardt Mueller

Cauldron Series # 2 by Chris Dunseath

Chris Dunseath
Cauldron Series # 2

Daniel Mcgirr Erosion of the Flesh

Daniel Mcgirr
‘Erosion of the Flesh’

Aliceson Carter Green and Pleasant Land

Aliceson Carter
‘Green and Pleasant Land’

Bea Haines Nest

Bea Haines

Malcolm Ashman villa

Malcolm Ashman