How to Apply for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London

The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London is one of the most prestigious and eagerly anticipated events in the art world. Since its inception in 1769, this annual exhibition has showcased a wide array of works by established and emerging artists. If you’re an artist looking to apply, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the application process.

Step 1: Understand the Eligibility Criteria

Before you begin the application process, ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements. The RA Summer Exhibition is open to artists from all over the world, regardless of age or experience. You can submit works in any medium, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture, and film.

Step 2: Prepare Your Artwork

Select your best work. The competition is fierce, so choose pieces that best represent your artistic vision and skills. Ensure your artwork is completed and professionally presented. High-quality photographs or digital images of your work are crucial, as these will be used for the initial screening process.

Step 3: Create an Account

Visit the Royal Academy’s website and create an account on their submission platform. This account will be your portal for managing your application, uploading your images, and paying submission fees.

Step 4: Pay the Submission Fee

There is a fee for submitting your work to the Summer Exhibition. The fee varies depending on how many works you are submitting. Payment can be made online through the RA’s secure payment system. Keep in mind that the fee is non-refundable, even if your work is not selected for the exhibition.

Step 5: Submit Your Artwork

Once you’ve paid the fee, you can upload images of your artwork. Ensure the images are high-resolution and accurately represent your work. You will also need to provide details about each piece, including title, dimensions, medium, and a brief description or artist statement.

Step 6: Review and Submit

Double-check all the information you have entered. Ensure that your contact details are correct and that all required fields are filled out. Once you are confident that everything is accurate, submit your application.

Step 7: Wait for the Judging Process

The selection process for the Summer Exhibition is rigorous. A panel of esteemed artists and academicians will review all submissions. This process takes several weeks, and only a fraction of the submitted works will be chosen for the exhibition.

Step 8: Notification

You will be notified by email whether your work has been selected. If your work is chosen, you will receive further instructions on how and when to deliver your artwork to the Royal Academy. If your work is not selected, don’t be discouraged. Many artists apply multiple times before being accepted.

Step 9: Deliver Your Artwork

If selected, follow the instructions provided for delivering your artwork to the Royal Academy. Ensure that your work is properly packed and arrives on time. Late deliveries may result in disqualification.

Step 10: Exhibition and Sales

If your work is part of the Summer Exhibition, it will be displayed alongside pieces from some of the most influential artists in the world. The exhibition attracts thousands of visitors, including collectors and critics, providing excellent exposure. Many works are available for sale, offering an opportunity to reach a broader audience and potential buyers.

Tips for Success

  1. Plan Ahead: Start the application process early to ensure you have plenty of time to prepare your materials and meet deadlines.
  2. Read the Guidelines: Carefully review the RA’s guidelines and instructions to avoid any mistakes that could disqualify your application.
  3. Seek Feedback: Before submitting, consider getting feedback on your work from trusted peers or mentors.
  4. Be Persistent: If you’re not selected, don’t be discouraged. Use the experience to improve and try again next year.

Applying to the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is a significant opportunity for any artist. With careful preparation and persistence, you can enhance your chances of being part of this historic and influential event. Good luck!