Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I don’t live in Chelsea, can I still enter?

Absolutely. The Chelsea show began as a local art show, and still serves to promote local artists, but has grown well beyond that and we welcome entries from all over. This year, we are thrilled to see a number of interstate entries for the first time.

What price should I put on my Painting?

This is always a tricky question - ultimately any piece is only worth what a buyer is prepared to pay for it. People will not buy a painting just because it is cheap (if they don’t like it), but may not buy one they really like if they can’t afford it. If you really want to sell, we would suggest you come to the Show and take note of what subjects sell, and in what price range. The calalogue of entries is available on the web site if you wish to see the range of prices placed on entries - although this is no guide to whether they sell or not.

If you are a first-time exhibitor, bear in mind that the Show takes a 25% commission on sales - one quarter, in other terms. This means that as a bare minimum, if your price is not at least the framing cost plus 25%, you will actually lose money on the sale...

All paintings in the Show MUST be for sale. Put a price on it that you would be happy to sell it for, and don’t worry about what others think.

What does ‘non-acquisitive mean”?

An ‘Acquisitive’ prize is one where the organisers keep the winning painting. In effect, purchasing the work with the prize. The Chelsea Show had this policy for a number of years, and many other shows still do. Some years ago we decided to stop acquiring the paintings as there are only so many paintings that will fit in Council chambers, public halls, bus shelters etc. As well, having an acquisitive prize limits the value of paintings - you would be mad to enter a $10,000 oil painting if first prize was having it ‘bought’ for $2,250.

On a practical level, this means that artists can enter any work regardless of sale price and have the opportunity to sell the work as well as collect the prize money.

I’ve never entered an art show before.

Now’s a perfect time to start. We welcome emerging artists and the show environment is very supportive. Every year sees new artists exhibiting for the first time and we have yet to see anybody traumatised by the experience.

I’ve won a Prize at the show, can I put it on my CV?

Congratulations! The Chelsea Show is well known in Victoria, and is developing a reputation in other states. A First Prize, Honourable Mention, or Highly Commended is well worth putting on your CV, with our blessing. Last year’s winners are listed in each catalogue, and with the introduction of our web site, we will endevour to list ALL past winners. This is simply to give as much exposure and assistance to artists as possible.

What category should my painting be under?

We are always seeking clarification from judges and various art organisations on this issue. Most works are simple to categorise - for instance, if it’s painted with oil paints on canvas, it’s an oil painting. On the other hand, watercolour paints applied thickly with a palette knife would not really be a watercolour. For the purposes of this show, it basically comes down to what visitors expect from the medium. No work would be disqualified, or not hung merely because it had been entered in an innapropriate category. It may lessen the chance of being awarded a prize if the judge felt it was deliberately misrepresented (for instance entering a photograph as an oil painting.)

Why do entries have to be framed?

Paintings and drawings, etc, must be framed and provided with picture wire and screw eyes firmly attached, approximately a third from the top on either side. This is to make it easy for the volunteers to handle and hang the paintings. Some frames, such as glass clip frames, break very easily and are dangerous to handle. The maximum length or height of any exhibit must not exceed 1.2 metres, including framing. This is simply to ensure there is space to hang all the exhibits.

Unframed stretched canvasses, or 'Gallery Wraps' are also acceptable, provided that the edges of the canvas are painted and they are equipped with wire for hanging as per other entries.

What happens to my painting if I don’t pick it up on time?

This presents a problem for all art shows, not just Chelsea. The reality is that there are no specific arrangements in place, and no available space for the safe storage of exhibits. The Chelsea Show hires the hall for the weekend, and then has to get out. That said, we have never thrown uncollected entries in the rubbish skip. What will probably happen is that some committee member will draw the short straw and take your painting home with them. It would then be up to you to find out who has your painting, and make arrangements to collect it at their discretion.

This is obviously messy, time-consuming and generally annoying, and so should be avoided if at all possible.

If you are unable to pick your work up at the advertised times, a simple option is to get somebody else to do it for you. The terms and conditions say:

14. If the exhibitor organises an agent to collect unsold exhibits, the authority should be in writing to the Rotary Club of Chelsea Art Show, be signed by the Exhibitor and be accompanied by the specimen signature of the agent.

This requirement is simply to stop somebody trying to claim your work without your permission. We try our utmost to treat your work with respect & care, and this is part of that.

I’ve heard of shows taking the entry fee, and then not even hanging the painting.

We guarantee to hang at least three entries. We MAY hang more if space is available.

One of the reasons the deadline for entries is final is simply so we can estimate how much space is needed to hang all the entries. At this time, we can still accommodate more entries than we receive. It is possible that future Shows may outgrow the venue and we have to review the hanging policy. If that occurs, we will do our utmost to publicise any changes. One comment we hear frequently from artists is that they hate not knowing why their work was not hung at other shows. We intend to avoid that if at all possible.

We have on rare occasions not hung works that exceeded the size limit and space has not been available.

It is possible that a work may not be hung as it is felt that it is offensive. Rather than start another (healthy) discussion about censorship, we would point out that this is a community-based art show and is probably not a suitable venue for pushing the boundaries of public taste.

Do you take down a painting if it sells?

No. If there are more paintings than space, and lots of them sell, there is a case for taking them down and re-cycling the space for un-hung works. We feel that visitors and artists are best served by seeing the best works, which are often the first to sell. It can also be disappointing for an artist to bring family and friends to show them their work, only to find they're no longer on display (the fact that they've sold is usually some consolation!)

I’ve copied something I found in a book - can I enter it in the show?

We would rather you didn’t. The Terms & Conditions say:

1. All exhibits must be the original work of the Exhibitor.

Under the Copyright Act, paintings can not be made from other paintings or photographs without the written permission of the original artist or photographer. We do recognise that many artists learn by copying other works, or are inspired by images they find in books, magazines or the internet. We also realise that we are unlikely to know what your source material is, unless you tell us (another Mona Lisa is a dead give-away, though).

In reality, your ability as an artist will improve faster if you do original works, based on your own reference material.

My paintings have been in other shows - can I still enter them in this one?


Does the painting have to have been done in the last 12 months?

Not really. We do prefer that it is a new work though - ie something we haven’t seen before. This is simply to keep the Show fresh, and give the visitors new works to see.

How is the entry fee decided? and If the Show is a charity, why do you charge a commission on sales?

The Show receives money from a number of sources: Artist Entry fees, Visitor Entry fees, Sponsorship, Canteen sales and Commission on sale of artwork. It has a number of expenses: Venue hire, Advertising & signage, Equipment hire, Artist prize money, to name a few. All the workers at the show are volunteers, and many business donate goods or services to keep the costs to a minimum. All proceeds from the Show go to local charities.

The result of this is a continual balancing act. We want to make as much money from the Show as possible, so we can give it straight to the supported Charities. We want as many visitors to come to the Show - to that end we want as much high-quality artwork as possible. We hope to attract artists to enter high-quality pieces by offering the highest prizemoney we can manage. We also don’t want to make the commission too high (it is comparable with other shows, and much lower than commercial galleries), or the entry fee too high, which would discourage artists from entering.

The various fees and prizes are arrived at after much discussion, and are re-assessed each year. If you feel they should be altered, please contact the Committee and your comments will be presented at the next meeting.

Why won’t you accept late entries? - you did before...

There is a substantial amount of work that must be done once all the entries have been received. They need to be entered into the computer, sorted and an entry number allocated. The list of entries has to be laid out in the Catalogue along with advertisements and then printed. All of these tasks are carried out by volunteers or companies donating their services. In previous years, when we have accepted late entries, this has put a lot of pressure on people who are already going out of their way to help. We decided this was unfair, and so decided that the deadline for entries would be final.

The closing date for entries was publicised as widely as possible, as far in advance as possible. If artists feel they have missed out unfairly, we are happy to review the process and timing, but for the reasons given above, the deadline will remain final.

Why do you want permission to photograph my entry?

We want to promote the show as well as possible. To do that, we would like to show the winners and their entries on the web site, in the local newspaper, or anywhere else we can think of that would be appropriate. In previous years, it has proved to be impossible to track down artists on opening night (when most photography takes place) to seek their permission, so now we make it part of the entry form. Copyright of the entry remains with the artist, and the art show will NOT make reproductions or facsimiles of any entry without specific further discussions and permission of the artist. Specifically, we would like to get photographs of the winning entries (with the artists if possible).