Welcome to the 188th RHA Annual Exhibition, Ireland’s largest and longest running exhibition of visual art. Open to all artists working in paint, drawing, print, sculpture, photography and architecture, the RHA Annual Exhibition attracts a large public and critical audience with 48,000 visitors last year. With sales in excess of € 490,000 in 2017, the highest since 2008, the Annual is a key event of the art calendar for both public and private buyers of all levels.
Last year it was agreed with exhibiting artists that the RHA would retain 40% commission, in order to raise funds for our outstanding bank payment of € 350,000, due June 2018. This is the next stage of repayment of the loan received by the RHA for the refurbishment of the gallery during 2008. That generous contribution by artists raised € 100,000. To this we can add funds raised from other sources of € 150,000, however we still need to secure the final € 100,000.
So, for this year, during the 188th Annual we are seeking 35% commission from all artists participating in the exhibition, including RHA Members and invited artists, to help us raise the final tranche. By purchasing art in the RHA Annual, you help to support the RHA, the work that we do and support the work of the artists that exhibit in the exhibition.
The open submission is vital to the strength and vitality of the RHA Annual. In 2017, we had over 2,450 entries from 1,389 artists and 2018 is looking to be similarly well subscribed. Selection takes place over five days, with a committee of eight and a rotating staff of 16. Around 13% of artworks entered are selected for exhibition making the process extremely competitive. The RHA relies on the regular commitment of artists who apply year on year and thank them for their submissions and the effort that goes into them. Works selected through the open submission process make up around 60% of the exhibition with the rest of the artworks from RHA Members and invited artists.
Artists invited in 2018 include Alan Butler, Susan MacWilliam, Kathy Tynan, Michael Canning, Mary A. Kelly, Marie Foley, David Eager Maher and Blaise Drummond. All invited artists are listed in the exhibition’s accompanying catalogue.
This year, a prize fund of almost € 55,000, including the RCSI Art Award of € 15,000 combined prize and commission, will be awarded to exhibiting artists. This generous prize fund, one of the largest in Ireland, is awarded to artists recognised for works of achievement. Awards are made to artists at all stages of their careers, from the Hennessy Craig Scholarship of € 10,000 awarded to a painter under 35 to the Hugh Bradley Award for a mid-career artist to the Friends of the RHA Award for a Senior Artist. Medium specific awards are also given for print, photography, architecture, portraiture and sculpture. The RHA would like to gratefully thank the sponsors of these awards for their continuing commitment to the Academy and the exhibiting artists. We hope you enjoy this year’s exhibition!
PRIZE WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED AT THE RHA ON SUNDAY 20 MAY