Royal Academy​ Summer Exhibition 2018

Last summer I visited the 249th Royal Academy of Arts (RA) Summer Exhibition, the world’s largest open-submission that showcases work from both established and emerging artists. Whilst thoroughly enjoying the large collection of contemporary art in many different mediums, I decided that I would have a go the following year and put the date on my calendar.

The applications opened in January, but I then had to reconsider my plan to enter. 2018 would be the 250th anniversary of the show and in celebration of this, the brief was ‘Art Made Now’ and artists were encouraged to enter work made in 2017/2018. ‘The Bristol 2 Litre Engine’, my chosen piece of work to submit, had been made in 2014. I decided that it was worth a chance and completed the application, but I then stayed quiet and didn’t tell anyone about the submission.

Summer Exhibition 2018 flyer
Summer Exhibition 2018 flyer

On 15 March, the very much anticipated update to my submission status appeared – I had been shortlisted! I was requested to  take the work to the RA on 10 May for the second round of judging.

The Bristol 2 Litre Engine - machine embroidery by Julie Heaton
The Bristol 2 Litre Engine

After recovering from the shock and excitement of being shortlisted, I enjoyed this news and looked forward to delivering ‘The Bristol 2 Litre Engine’ to the RA where it was viewed and judged by the royal academicians, with Grayson Perry as the coordinator of the show.

Then, on 26 May, I heard that my submission had been accepted!  I was going to be showing at the 250th Summer Exhibition at the RA. I was absolutely thrilled. On 1 June my ticket arrived inviting me to the Varnishing Day Reception; a fabulous celebration for the artists and my opportunity to discover that my work had been selected by Grayson Perry himself and was hanging at eye level in his yellow gallery.

Engine yellow room


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