The Black Swan Arts Open is an annual competition for original artworks by established practitioners and emerging artists. The Open has a reputation for attracting and selecting diverse and innovative pieces, championing artistic excellence in the South West.
The competition welcomes works in any medium and almost any size – from painting, drawing and printmaking to digital, textiles, photography, sculpture and ceramics. Previous Open shows have included a wide range of subjects, from gritty urban pieces and spectacular portraits to images reflecting the natural environment of the West Country.
A different panel of judges is responsible for selecting the artwork for each Open, resulting in strikingly distinctive exhibitions from year to year. In 2018, the panel is made up of esteemed artists and individuals within the arts industry including: Steve Burden, artist and 2016 winner of the Black Swan Arts Solo Show Prize; artist Sue Conrad; Michael Eavis, dairy farmer and creator of Glastonbury Festival; Debbie Hillyerd, director of education at Hauser & Wirth Somerset; and Johnny Messum, director and founder pioneer of Messums Wiltshire.
Selected artists have the chance of winning a series of impressive prizes, including the First Prize of £1000 supported by Hauser & Wirth Somerset;; the inaugural Sue Conrad Works on Paper Prize of £1000; the Black Swan Arts Prize of a solo show; the Mount Art Prize for artists in or who have recently left education to frame a piece of artwork; the Postscript 3D Prize for art materials; the Kobi and Teal Prize of an exhibition; the Babington House Prize of a mentoring session with Kate Bryan, head of Soho House Group Collections; the Friends of Black Swan Arts Prize; one year membership of the new Black Swan Arts Guild; and the People’s Choice Award, voted for by the public.