Ferens Art Gallery Open Exhibition

The Open Exhibition is our annual celebration of Hull's incredible artistic talent. Established in 1967, the exhibition is open to everyone – from new and emerging artists to established pros.

It’s an opportunity for artists to display and sell their work. As well as for visitors to get an insight into the thriving art community in the city.

How does it work?

The exhibition begins with an open call early in the year, inviting artists from all practices and backgrounds to send us their best work. Our selectors then have the difficult challenge of choosing which pieces to include for exhibition.

The exhibition itself takes place later in the year, usually during the summer. During the exhibition, visitors can enjoy hundreds of amazing local artworks, from paintings and photography, to sculpture and ceramics, to video and performance. Many of the works are also for sale – giving you an opportunity to own a unique piece of art for your home, created right here in Hull.

Submit an Artwork

Entries to the 2024 Ferens Open Exhibition have now closed.

2024 Open Exhibition Terms and Conditions (PDF)


2024 Open Exhibition Easy Read Document (PDF)

2024 Open Exhibition Visual Guide (PDF)

The 2024 Open Exhibition Audio Description

Key Dates

Online submissions open 9am Tuesday 20 February 2024
Online submissions close Midnight Tuesday 12 March 2024
Notification by email Wednesday 24 April 2024
Delivery period Thursday 6 June - Wednesday 12 June 2024
Preview Thursday 27 June 2024
Exhibition display Friday 28 June - Sunday 22 September 2024
Collection of artwork Saturday 28 September - Sunday 6 October 2024


Need help with photographing your artwork or submitting your online application? Then you can book onto one of our free 30-minute workshops. Details are below.


Every year, artworks are selected by a panel of artists and experts from our local community.

Jemisha Maadhavji, Artist



Jemisha Maadhavji lives and works in Leicester. She has a master’s degree in Fine Art, 2020-22, and a BA degree in Fine Art, 2015-18, both from De Montfort University, Leicester.

Jemisha's work is hugely influenced by bold colours, patterns and fashion. She explores individuals from different cultural backgrounds, personalities, and gender through symbolism and narrative. Jemisha is not interested in painting people everybody knows or who are famous; rather she focuses on people unknown to her and to the world. Her practice explores themes of desire, luxury and gender, and questions what beauty in the twenty first century is. Jemisha’s paintings are predominantly created with oil paints on canvas with multiple delicate layers, alternating with sometimes thickly textured ones to allow viewers to feel their presence.

Jemisha featured in an episode of the BBC One Extraordinary Portraits series in 2023 and had an important solo exhibition at Nottingham Castle Museum called My Celebrities in 2023-24. She has two paintings in the collection at Soho House, Oxford, and Symphony of the Libertine, 2022, oil and jewellery on canvas, was acquired by the Ferens Art Gallery in 2023 for the permanent collection. This painting featured in the 2022 Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition hosted at the Ferens Art Gallery and the South London Gallery. Jemisha currently teaches painting (fine art) at De Montfort University.


Sarah Pennington, Artist and Director of HARI Hull Artist Research Initiative



Sarah Pennington has a Fine Art degree from Hull School of Art and Design, 1994, and a master’s in Fine Art Practice & Research from Sheffield Hallam University, 2013-16.

Sarah is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice often finds its starting points in everyday objects – once cherished or crucial, now tarnished and discarded, become symbolic. These objects may be used in multiple, taken apart, cast in an alternative material, or assembled with other artefacts. She recently made her first artist film – a visual essay with poetic narrative in response to Urban Green Spaces and their many personal and societal benefits.

In 2021 Sarah launched artist-led project HARI (Hull Artist Research Initiative). Its remit is to support research and experimentation by artists through residency opportunities, and arenas for discourse around the arts and their intersections with environment, society, and other areas of study, through events for sharing knowledge.

Her work with HARI is founded on her passion for the arts and the comprehension and expertise gained through over 20 years working as arts professional in roles such as Arts Development Manager, Arts & Health Inclusion Officer, Facilitator, Producer, Researcher, Curator and Lecturer.


Hannah Willetts, Curator, Beverley Art Gallery



Hannah Willetts has a degree in the History of Art from the University of Leeds, 2009-13. Hannah started working at Beverley Art Gallery in 2022. Her current responsibilities include managing the permanent collection displays in Beverley’s Edwardian gallery space and delivering the exhibition programme. Her professional experience includes working at the Hepworth Wakefield, Glasgow Museums, East Dunbartonshire Museums, and auction houses Sotheby’s and Lyon & Turnbull, where she specialised in Fine and Decorative Art.

Curatorial work includes the Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Making the Glasgow Style exhibition, 2018, shown at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, the Walker Art Gallery and four US venues with the American Federation of Arts. She has also worked in Collections Management caring for, storing, and displaying both large and small-scale collections, and making them publicly accessible.

Hannah is passionate about sharing art collections, supporting local artists, and is strongly motivated by the challenge of engaging diverse audiences. She is a member of the Emerging Curators Group 2024 and has been awarded bursary funding by the British Art Network for her research project on creating an active art gallery space.

2024 Open Exhibitions Prizes

Friends of the Ferens Award

The following cash prizes will be given to winning entries, selected by the Friends of the Ferens board:

First Prize: £350

Second Prize: £250

Third Prize: £200

Prize money kindly donated by the Friends of the Ferens


Hallett & Future Ferens Young Artist Award

All young artists age 16 to 25 are eligible for this prize.

£200 will go to an artist selected by BSB Architecture and the Future Ferens young people’s collective.

Prize money kindly donated by BSB Architecture


Chair’s Award – Hull Culture & Leisure

£100 will go to an artist selected by the Hull Culture and Leisure Chair Mike Ross


People’s Vote Award

£100 will be awarded to an artist with the most votes from visitors to the 2024 Open exhibition.

Keep up with all the latest from the Ferens Open 2024 on social media

Twitter @HullFerens
Instagram @ferensartgallery
Facebook www.facebook.com/ferensartgallery
Hashtag #FerensOpen

Contact Us

01482 614290 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 5pm) / ferensopen@hcandl.co.uk

The Ferens Art Gallery Open Exhibition is made possible with thanks to kind sponsorship from Friends of the Ferens Art Gallery and BSB Architecture.

Upcoming events

Join us to celebrate the creativity of our local artists in Hull’s annual Open Exhibition at Ferens Art Gallery. 28 June to Sunday 22 September 2024.


Discover work by budding young artists at Ferens Art Gallery this summer. Visit the Young Artist Open Exhibition from 28 June to Sunday 22 September 2024.