Title: Black Swan Arts Open 2018
Date: 19 October – 24 November
Preview: Thursday 18 October, 7.30-9pm -all welcome

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. Entry guidelines encourage submissions of 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

Black Swan Arts Open is a very popular annual competition and this year has seen entries from over 500 artists. We have built an impressive reputation for attracting some of the best artists from the South West, with our expert judges (which change each year) selecting diverse and innovative pieces and championing artistic excellence.

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

  • 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

Art Open 2018 Preview

  We welcomed a large crowd for the preview evening and to hear the 2018 prize winners announced. Photograpy by David Chedgy.

Art Open 2018 Prize Winners

Hauser & Wirth Somerset

First prize

Kay Lewis Bell for How selfhood begins with walking away, and love is proved in the letting go (Cecil Day Lewis)

Programming Group

The Black Swan Arts Programming Group comprise of: Mel Day, Hans Borgonjon, Sandra Porter, David Daniels, Pauline Scott Garrett

Solo Show

Davies, Monaghan & Klein for Never eat the cone

Highly Commended

Eleanor Bartlett for Table

Highly Commended

Zsolt Dudas for Unbearable lightness of being

Highly Commended

Mark Somerville for Disorderly

Highly Commended

Emma Tuck for Do, redo, cover, uncover, break

Highly Commended

Lucinda Burgess for Borderlines and Maps and Territory, together

Highly Commended

Peter Haugh for Lounge

Highly Commended

Toby Holmes for 23 Polar Bears

Highly Commended

Bill Prosser for Leftovers 4

Highly Commended

Judith Jones for Rendezvous, The Shipping Forecast 1, Plot Number 56, In the Night Garden as a group

Sue Conrad Prize For Work On Paper

Deborah Westmancoat for Perigree for Syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun System

Mount Art Prize for Local Artist

Peter Haugh for Lounge

Postscript Prize for 3D

Tom Baskeyfield for The Lion (and the Dragon)

Kobi & Teal Prize for a solo exhibition

Peter Haugh for Lounge

Volunteers Choice

Toby Holmes for 46

Soho House Mentoring Prize

Victoria Bone for Restriction 1

The Guild Prize

Caroline Frood for View Over the Hedge

Friends of Black Swan Arts

Toby Holmes for 46

Etching showing a soldier with a parachute which is inflated by the wind.

People’s choice (Frome Town Council)

Jon England for Seeds to the Wind