Black Swan Arts Open 2019 - Entry Guidelines

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The Arts Open demonstrates the on-going and major commitment of Black Swan Arts to the development of artistic talent locally, regionally and nationally.

This guide contains information to help you make a successful submission to the Arts Open. The amount of information below reflects our aim to cover every eventuality and guide you through the process. We recommend that you print out this document and have it ready to refer to during the submission process. If you are unclear, then contact us for clarification: Full terms and conditions can be found within the competition details and all applications must be submitted online.

Competition overview

The Black Swan Arts Open is an ‘open submission’ (anyone can enter) competition that will be judged by professionals from a broad range of disciplines. Entry can only be via the online submission process on our website. A fee of £15 per image is charged and artwork is submitted as a digital image. It will be reviewed by the judges, who select in the region of 100 pieces for the exhibition – they also choose the prize winners. Works selected will need to be delivered to the Black Swan Arts Centre for exhibition by the dates stated below.

What can you submit

Only original artwork will be considered (i.e. not reproduction prints which are made to accurately reproduce an already created original image) but any medium will be considered, including applied arts and digital media. There are limitations on exhibiting certain items in terms of scale, equipment or health and safety. There is a maximum floor space for 3-dimensional work (e.g. sculpture) of 1m x 1m. For 2-dimensional work (e.g. paintings) size limits are 2m x 2m. We reserve the right to select but not display works. If you are in any doubt, then please contact us.

Before you enter

Prepare a digital image of your work

We cannot stress enough how important it is that you submit good images of your work. Entries for the exhibition are selected via a digital image, and you will need to upload a good quality digital photograph of your artwork via our online form. If you are unfamiliar with taking or preparing digital images, then we suggest you find somebody to help you with this. We are unable to do this for you.

Here are some tips to help you take a successful digital photo:

  • use a digital camera (or phone or equivalent)
  • place the work in an uncluttered space or on a plain wall so that the artwork is clearly visible and defined
  • make sure that only the artwork appears in the photograph
  • if the item is very large or very small, put a tape measure in the photograph to give an idea of the scale
  • ensure you have a clear and focused shot
  • your image should be in colour without enhancements or filters

Prepare your image for upload

  • make the application from your phone or iPad or transfer the image from your phone, iPad or camera to your computer
  • save the image as a high-quality jpg/jpeg file less than 5MB in size. We suggest you ask for help if you are unsure about how to size the image or upload it
  • give the image a filename of ‘lastname-firstname-title’ with words separated by hyphens e.g. ‘vincent-vangogh-thestarrynight’- DO NOT include special characters such as & or spaces.
  • have your image(s) completely ready to use before you continue

Film & animations: Please upload a still and then contact us by email to arrange delivery of film. Please note that if equipment is required we will expect you to provide this.

Online submission

When you are ready, your entry must be submitted online by following the entry screen instructions. A bar shows at the top to show you your progress.

progress bar, indicating 4 stages

Enter your information

Complete the ‘Registration Details’ and ‘Entry Details’ to provide some information about yourself and your entry. Make sure you click to ‘save & continue’ after completing the fields on each screen.

You will receive an email to confirm that you have started your entry. This will be sent to the email address you used on the first screen. If you experience problems with the process contact us at

You can edit your entry at any time to make amendments before the competition deadline. Once payment has been submitted we cannot refund your entry.

Upload and submit images of your work

You can upload a maximum of four images of your artworks. Before you start make sure you have the following information ready:

  • title
  • subtitle / short description (max 20 words)
  • medium used (max 20 words)
  • size of work (for film/media give the duration of film or time-based media)
  • selling price (include in your total the 35% gallery commission e.g. if selling price = £100, £65 to you and £35 to the gallery)
  • image file*

* Images should be jpg/jpeg file less than 5MB in size with a filename of ‘lastname-firstname-title’ with words separated by hyphens e.g. ‘vincent-vangogh-thestarrynight’- DO NOT include special characters such as & or spaces. Large images will take longer to upload. If your connection is not strong, this may time out and you will get an error. If this occurs, you can either use a stronger connection or reduce the size of your image file.


Our preferred method of payment is online via PayPal. From the summary of ‘Artwork registration,’ you can review the work you are submitting and the total cost of your entry. Once you click to ‘complete entry and pay now’ you will be redirected to PayPal where you will be able to pay securely using a debit/credit card or your PayPal account:

  • review the order summary and check the amount
  • log in to your PayPal account or follow instructions that enable you to pay with a debit or credit card if you don’t have an account

If you need to discuss alternative payment methods, please email us at


If you are selected for the exhibition you will be notified by email. For any further information or assistance, email the office on or call 01373 473980 (10am – 12 noon weekdays)

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