April 14th, 2014

We are delighted to announce a fantastic new offer from Cass Art, the UK’s leading art supplies retailer. All artists who register for NOA 2014 will be eligible for a £5 voucher, to spend online at

To access the offer, you must have registered for NOA 2014, then simply sign up for the voucher by 25th July and redeem the offer before 31st July 2014. You can register for the voucher either via your confirmation email or log in to the website.



April 7th, 2014

Every now and again someone will pop up questioning the entry fee or something else about the competition, so if you were wondering too, here’s a little bit about us!

We are a not for profit charity administered by The Chichester Arts Trust. All funding is given back as prize money or goes towards the marketing and promotion of your work – this means exhibitions, advertising, social media and so on. We are a small team, all lovers of art, working hard to grow a truly open and fair platform for the UK’s artists.

Our first exhibition was held in 1996. Our Patron, His Grace The Duke of Richmond had a personal vision to see Chichester become nationally and internationally known as a “City of The Arts” by 2020. By virtue of the immense number of Arts and Heritage facilities in the immediate area this vision is already to some extent realised. Many of you will have visited the wonderful Pallant House Gallery for example, where we have shown our winners for the past few years.

Over the years the competition has grown of course, not least due to the passionate effort of our Chairman, Neil Lawson Baker, who darts around the country working unpaid, to raise awareness and secure better opportunities for the charity and its artists. This year we will share £60,000 in prize funds, the largest prize pot of any art competition in the UK and we are extremely excited to be opening in September at the glorious Somerset House. The exhibition will be up in London for five weeks, meaning thousands more visitors will be able to enjoy and maybe purchase your work before we move to The Minerva Theatre in Chichester and Pallant House. Our main aim has always simply been to provide the widest platform for artists to have their work appreciated. That we are able to do so in such prestigious venues gives us great pleasure.

For some, we understand the entry fee of £20 seems like a lot, but please remember that even if you are not selected, your work will be seen by the judges and we are happy to support all of you on social media or our website, so do let us know if you have an upcoming event – and remember your entry fee helps to support other artists and culture. Which is a wonderful thing!


March 14th, 2014

One of the most important aspects of the competition to us are the judges we invite to select the final works each year. We have been fortunate enough to have had the very best art experts over the years, everyone from Gavin Turk to the inimitable Brian Sewell in 2013.

The judging is done completely impartially. It is an anonymous process with no names or biographies revealed to the judges at any time. We are open to all artists and actively encourage entry of all ages from 15 upwards. The oldest entrant was 91. Creativity does not recognise age and rightly so!

This year a new and esteemed panel will judge your work. We are proud to introduce you to:

Vanessa Branson
Vanessa is a champion of global, cultural and ecological initiatives. As President and Founder of the Marrakech Biennale (formerly AIM Biennale) she is responsible for North Africa’s only trilingual arts festival, an event now entering its 5th edition – comprising visual art, literature and film programs featuring acclaimed international and Moroccan artists.
Prior to this, between 1999 and 2004, she was co-founding curator of the Wonderful Fund Collection. This involved 15 people investing in the fund with which works of contemporary art were purchased to reflect the pulse of the times. The Wonderful Fund Collection was exhibited at Pallant House Gallery in 2006.

Chris Orr MBE RA

Chris is an English artist and printmaker who has exhibited globally.
Chris studied at Ravensbourne and Hornsey Schools of Art and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1967 with an MA in Printmaking. He was made a fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1985, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers in 1988, elected Royal Academician in 1995 and appointed Professor of Printmaking at The Royal College of Art 1998. Combining his work as a full-time artist with teaching, he has also taught at Cardiff College of Art, Central St Martins, and at the Royal College of Art, London.

Norman Ackroyd CBE RA

Norman attended Leeds College of Art from 1957 to 1961 and the Royal College of Art from 1961 to 1964 where he studied under Julian Trevelyan. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Art in 1988 and appointed Professor of Etching, University of the Arts, in 1994. He was elected Senior Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 2000, and in 2007 was made CBE for services to Engraving and Printing.

Caroline Irby

Caroline is a British photographer working in social documentary, portraiture, and advertising. Her work has been published and exhibited worldwide. After graduating in Philosophy and French from Edinburgh University, Caroline worked mainly in developing countries on editorial assignments, NGO commissions, and personal projects, motivated by a faith in photography’s capacity to connect the viewer to the subject; to link worlds that often appear disconnected.

Caroline has always written as well as photographed, starting at 17 with articles in the Independent and Evening Standard. During 2009 she had a weekly photograph and interview column in the Guardian Weekend Magazine. In 2010, Caroline’s published her first book “A Child from Everywhere.”

David Middleton

David represents our generous sponsor Towry, the wealth adviser. He was also a judge last year and loved it so much he asked to be involved again!

Perhaps we should leave the last word to Brian Sewell who following his involvement last year, said.
“For the established artist it provides the opportunity to exhibit between group and one man shows.
For the young it is a stepping-stone. No serious working artist should ignore it.”


February 14th, 2014

Hello everyone,

Well here we are in February already…

2013 was a very good year for us and we wanted to share with you some of our highlights.

Our aim last year was to become even better established in London, enabling us to gain better exposure and attract more prize money from sponsors to reward our competing artists. We opened the competition to great acclaim at the Royal College of Art in Kensington, with two evenings hosted by Ronnie Wood and Gavin Turk. Ronnie talked about his own experiences in art and expressed his delight at the talent shown on our walls. Two artists whose work he bought are still reeling at this accolade! Gavin is a great supporter of our competition and commented that the standard just gets “better and better”. So really well done to everyone who ended up being chosen for the exhibition and a huge thank you to those who entered and were not selected. Please try again this year.

With a firm base established in London and Chichester, we were able to sell more works than ever before and that, after all, is one of our main aims. We want to help get your work seen by a larger audience and give you all, new and bigger opportunities.

This year the competition will open at Somerset House and run for five weeks.
We are delighted to have secured such a prestigious venue and chance for your work to be widely admired.

We are a small and dedicated team – all passionate believers in artists and in the power of art and creativity. We are proud that our competition is recognised as being genuinely open. We do not discriminate based on age or experience and of course all our judging is carried out totally anonymously to prevent any biased opinions from the panel. Last year we were honoured to include Brian Sewell and Barbara Rae RA as judges and in 2014 we have two very well known RA’s Norman Ackroyd and Chris Orr on the panel of five.

We absolutely understand how many of you were disappointed not to have been selected in 2013, but we appreciated and fully support your creativity with equal measure. Each year we have a new panel and every judge has a totally different opinion so keep working with us and do please keep in touch.

Please tell us about your own exhibitions which we can often announce on our website and you may have noticed we have a very active Social media presence. Have you joined us on Twitter (@tnoac) and/or Facebook (NOA) or found our Pinterest boards yet?

As you know Social media is a vital way of sharing and connecting, helping to spread the word with your up to date news, or even just an opinion you want to air. We love our conversations on Twitter and it is always fun to meet up and put faces to avatars!

Most of all, at the start of NOA14, we want to thank you again for the commitment to your own art and for being a part of The National Open family. Your work is very important to society and culture in general and gives great joy to so many people.

Art so often unites peoples, and certainly gets them talking and connecting. We will continue to support you, trying to provide new opportunities in every way that we can. So feed us your comments PLEASE.

In the meantime, we wish you all a great year and look forward to seeing your works as and when you submit them.

London First Night

November 28th, 2012

On Thursday evening when the Hoxton streets buzz with Private Views our sponsor, Towry, The Wealth Adviser held a first night preview for friends and guests at The Prince’s Drawing School. The night was opened by Grayson Perry (or Clare) followed by a short speeches from Andrew Fisher, CEO of Towry and Neil Lawson-Baker, Chairman of the National Open Art Competition. The event drew a large crowd with over 300 guests visiting throughout the evening. People hugely enjoyed the diversity and quality of the works produced from artists from across the entire United Kingdom. Grayson stayed for a few hours chatting to guests and winning artists and the night was a great success. The Champagne flowed and I think it is safe to say everyone had a fantastic time.

Chichester First Night

November 28th, 2012

The 16th National Open Art Competition show in Chichester was held at the minerva theatre. On the (need date) we held our First Night for Exhibiting Artists, Friends and Guests of The National Open Art Competition. With plenty of wine and drinks, a great variety of art and plenty of interesting Artist’s to talk to the night ran incredibly smoothly. With a speech’s from Lady …. (NAME) to open the Chichester Show and Neil Lawson-Baker, the Chairman of NOAC followed by the giving of prizes to a few of our 21 winners. The night was enjoyed by a few hundred people including the National Open Art Competitions youngest ever exhibitor Jem Negus aged 10.


September 6th, 2012

Tomorrow night there will be a beautiful sunset over Bosham harbour for our annual SUMMER PARTY. We had to wait a long time but the summer has come! Only another 10 days before the final 2012 judging at Goodwood, soon to be followed by our 4 major exhibitions. It has been a great year.


August 25th, 2012

Copy and paste this link to see The Review of MY LIFE in a SPIN.
Frank Dunphy describes his time as manager to Damien Hirst.


August 24th, 2012

From dawn til dusk yesterday 5 judges worked viewing all the images submitted for the 2012 NATIONAL OPEN ART COMPETITION.

On the big screen in The Arts Club, Dover Street cinema over 2200 works were shortlisted to just over 500 works.

Paintings, Drawings, Original Prints; Photographs and Digital Images were all judged by this year’s panel which included LISA WRIGHT (Chair) from FALMOUTH UNIVERSITY; GUS CASELY-HAYFORD well known for his BBC TV art programmes; FRANCIS HODGSON the art critic from The Financial Times the well known photographic specialist; ANDREW STAHL, Head of Undergraduate Fine Art studies at The Slade and CEDAR LEWISOHN, famed by his expertise on Street Art and Graffiti.

The next round of judging will see the real works at GOODWOOD, WEST SUSSEX where on September 17th the same panel will reduce the 500 to 100 works for the 2012 NATIONAL OPEN ART EXHIBITIONS.


Gus Casely-Hayford, Francis Hodgson, Lisa Wright, Andrew Stahl, Cedar Lewisohn



August 21st, 2012

On Wednesday 22nd August our five 2012 Judges will spend all day seeing over 2180 images on screen to short list the work to around 500. The selected works will then be submitted for the second round judging on September 17th. Seeing images on screen and seeing the real work is a very different experience but to bring over 2000 paintings , photographs, prints,drawings from across the UK is such an expensive project for all the artists that the short listing is considered a fairer way. The transport for the chosen short list will be partly sponsored by a generous charitable grant. The judges are LISA WRIGHT from Falmouth Arts Faculty; Francis Hodgson Art Critic for The Financial Times specialising in Photography; Gus Casely Hayford well known for his recent BBC programmes; Andrew Stahl who is head of Undergraduate Studies at The Slade and Cedar Lewisohn of Street Art fame.

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