After a winners’ exhibition in Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery, the main exhibition featuring 123 works transfers to the Minerva Theatre from December 17 to January 3, open daily 10am-5.30pm; Sundays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, 10am-4pm; closed Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Day.
Exhibition trustee Kate Thorpe said it had been an excellent year for the event, with more than 3,600 entries: “Every year it goes up! And it just gets better every year. It sounds a bit corny, but it is true. The judges are always of very high quality. We had two RA’s this year. The quality of the judges is high, and we are very much better known now. Every year, we get new entrants coming in, and we have got a good following now on Facebook and Twitter. People are hearing about us more and more.
“And we are having a new development now through our ambassadors who are going to go out in the regions and talk to schools and colleges and universities about the competition. People are telling other people about it, which is wonderful.”
As it expands, one of the ambitions emerging is to take the exhibition on tour, which could start to happen next year, Kate hopes.
“This is now the biggest open art exhibition. By the word open, we mean the judges do not know anything about the artists. They simply chose the works on their merit.
“We have got different categories. There are painting and drawing and photography and wall-hung installation and computer-generated art. We are hoping next year to bring in the moving image as a category. We have not passed this completely, but it is something we are hoping to do.
“We are always looking for works which are striking and news. We are proud we are permitting a lot of emerging artists to be seen, and they have developed since being part of the open exhibition. It is fantastic they get the chance to show their work somewhere like Somerset House. It is a wonderful opportunity for them.
“With Gavin Turk’s continued support as vice president, Ronnie Wood as patron, and special guest Sir Antony Gormley hosting this year’s artists private view and prize-giving at Somerset House, NOA truly is growing from strength to strength and fast gaining serious recognition.”
Free admission. More details on www.thenationalopenartcompetition.com. The exhibition open’s for entries for next year’s event on January 10.