Black Swan Arts Young Open 2019

Closed Friday 1st March 2019

Young Open poster featuring a tiger by a previous entrant

Extended deadline for entries: 1 March

Exhibition dates: 30 March – 27 April

Preview: Saturday 30 March, 12pm midday

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

Contact: Morag Stuart and Sally Barnett
01373 473980

Are you aged between 8 and 19 years? Would you like to enter an Art Competition?  If the answer is 'Yes' to both these questions then why don't you enter the Black Swan Arts Young Open?  Black Swan Arts Young Open is the largest arts competition in the South West.

Who can enter

This competition is for children/students from all backgrounds and abilities. If you are thinking, 'But, I can't draw' or 'I don't have the confidence', keep on reading.

We are always keen to see work with unique creativity, involving original ideas. Those expressing concerns about everyday matters such as the environment, politics, nature, religion, mental health, your life, your pet, your family, etc. The artworks we receive each year are an acknowledgement to the subjects that affect young people today. We are always very proud to have the opportunity of exhibiting it.

Materials you can use

We would like young artists to also think about using materials available to them at home or at school/club. There is no need to buy expensive art materials to create an amazing artwork or to be selected. In fact, we encourage 2D or 3D artists to use recyclable materials and single use materials. Maybe you could think of something amazing to create with all the plastic we usually throw in the bin.

You may need to think about buying: glue, pencils, paint and paper. But ask your parents to see what is hiding in your house, waiting for you to create that fabulous artwork that we know you can create. We encourage artwork in any medium, including:

  • painting
  • drawing
  • collage
  • pottery
  • ceramics
  • jewellery
  • illustration
  • textiles
  • metal work
  • carpentry
  • sculpture
  • digital media
  • handmade books/zines

Use our Pinterest board for inspiration

If you would like to enter the competition but are stuck for ideas and inspiration, we have a Pinterest board with hundreds of images of artwork from professional and amateur artists. But remember, please do not copy them. We want to see your unique artwork.

Young Open 2019 Judges

Young Open judge 2018 - Matt Wellsted

Matt Wellsted
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Young Open judge 2018 - Rhiannon Davies

Rhiannon Davies
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Young Open judge 2018 - Tina Gaisford-Waller

Tina Gaisford-Waller
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Young Open judge 2018 - Cllr Rich Ackroyd

Cllr Rich Ackroyd
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If selected, your artwork will be curated, judged and exhibited for hundreds of people to see and your artwork could also win an amazing prize.

The Young Open Workshop Prize has become an integral part of the success of the competition.

Prize winners in the 12-15 year and 16-19 categories will win an opportunity to have an individual creative workshop with a professional artist. These inspirational working artists and craftspeople carefully tailor each of the sessions which are designed to develop the skills and broaden the artistic experience of the winners. Every artist comes from a different discipline.

This year Ellenbray, Postscript and Studio Prints have kindly donated vouchers for the winners of 8-11 age group. In addition, we are excited to tell you that Somerset Art Works (SAW) will be offering a special InspirED prize for an outstanding entry from an InspirED school. The prize will be a free SAW artist workshop for one class, to be held at an InspirED school.

Age categories

There are 3 age categories:

  • 8yrs – 11yrs
  • 12yrs – 15yrs
  • 16yrs – 19yrs

What the Young Open means to us

More than 150 schools have participated in this event over the past five years and more than 1050 young people have taken part. This support and collaboration make this competition one of the highlights of our year.

The Young Open Competition demonstrates the on-going and major commitment of Black Swan Arts to the development of talent and to the building of strong links with the community, locally, regionally and nationally.

If you have any questions about the competition please contact Black Swan Arts, by telephone on 01373 473980 or e-mail

Prize givers

A big thank you to this year’s prize givers Studio Prints, Postscript and Ellenbray.