Cotton On MCR: Open Call Art Exhibition


Here at Cotton On MCR, we aim to not only promote Manchester’s amazing art scene, but to contribute to it also! That is why we are extremely excited to be hosting our first, stand-alone art exhibition! This exhibition will feature a great mix of Greater Manchester based artists, showcasing local talent from students, hobbyists and established artists alike. Anyone that works, lives or studies in Greater Manchester can apply! We’ll have over 30 different artists all showing a mix of 2D and 3D work, there will be something for everyone in this exhibition.

There is no theme for this open call, just that all artists submitting work must be living and/or working in Greater Manchester – so there really will be an eclectic mix of art work on show.

This exhibition will take place in the established Saul Hay Gallery in Manchester’s city centre from Friday 23rd April – Monday 3rd May 2021. Collaboratively we want to show that art can be for everyone, and that galleries are open to all. We understand that some galleries and exhibitions can come across as elitist, well we want to show that this isn’t the case, and by showing work of local and mixed media artists, we know that this exhibition will be a huge success. We will also be running a ‘best piece’ competition and have a great panel of professional artists and curators on board that will be viewing and judging your work and we have some amazing prizes on offer. Plus we’ll be expecting hundreds of visitors to the exhibition so it’s a great chance for exposure next to other amazing local artists.

Read on to find out more about what we are offering with this exhibition, and follow the link to apply. Deadline is midnight, Friday 26th March.

We are also looking for people to help out at and sponsor the event! If you fancy getting your brand out there, contributing to a local exhibition which will be viewed by hundreds of local artists and art fans alike, you can download our sponsor pack and get in touch!

What’s in it for the Artists?

Not only do you have the opportunity to show your work in the exhibition, but we want to make sure we give back to ALL artists that apply. We have a huge list of opportunities available which will involve every single applicant.

Successful applicants receive:

  • Their selected work(s) in the exhibition at Saul Hay Gallery itself.
  • Possible sales, as we ask that all work in the exhibition is available to purchase.
  • All work will be put into an exhibition catalogue with the artist names and details of their work.
  • Their work featured in an online exhibition on Cotton On MCR.
  • Exhibition review on Cotton On MCR.
  • Their work featured on Cotton On MCR Instagram story.

The overall ‘best piece’ competition winner will receive:

  • A solo exhibition as part of a future Cotton On MCR Art All-Dayer event in 2021.
  • The chance to have their work up in Saul Hay Gallery in a separate exhibition.
  • A dedicated feature on Cotton On MCR website.

How will the competition be judged?

The competition will be judged by an amazing panel of art based professionals. The panel includes myself, Domino Panton-Oakley the Founder and Owner of Cotton On MCR. I will be joined by the amazing Ian Hay, the Owner, Collector and Curator of Saul Hay Gallery. With us we will have two amazing and established Manchester based artists including Ian Rayer-Smith who is a successful abstract painter and Liam Hopkins aka Lazerian who creates public art, statement pieces and furniture. We will also have a voting system for all those attending. Together we will collectively chose a winner for the above awards. Find out more about the panel on our Exhibition Event page.

What if I am not chosen for the Exhibition?

We’re extremely dedicated to giving back to all those that have applied and so we have collated a few ways to make sure each and every applicant gets something back from us, even if they are not chosen for the physical exhibition itself.

Unsuccessful applicants to receive:

  • Your work on an online exhibition on Cotton On MCR website.
  • Possible sales as we ask that all work is available to purchase.
  • Top runner up will be featured as a Manc of the Month on Cotton On MCR website.
  • Feedback on your submission will be available for all applications if requested.
  • Your work featured on a Cotton On MCR Instagram story.

How to Apply and Terms and Conditions:

The application will allow a maximum of 5 pieces of artwork to be submitted.


£15 for one piece of work, any additional work you wish to submit will be an added £5. Maximum amount being £35 (for 5 pieces of work).

30% commission will be taken from any sales made at the exhibition and from any online sales.


Midnight Friday 26th March.


  • Must be 18 and over.
  • All artists must be living and/or working in Greater Manchester – please add your Manchester address to the form.
  • Must be available to drop off artwork on Monday 19th April between the hours of 10am – 12pm.
  • Unsuccessful applications must be available to collect their work on Tuesday 20th April between 5pm – 7pm.
  • Must have work available for full duration between Monday 19th April – Tuesday 4th May.
  • Please read full Terms and Conditions at the bottom of the page.


Upload images of work via the application form. Please send high quality images in JPEG format.


Only accepting 2D and 3D work. No video or sound media is accepted. Wall height and uploading restrictions apply.


23rd April – 3rd May.


  1. All work submitted must be solely produced by the artist in question.
  2. Artwork containing nudity, generally violent and gruesome depictions may be classed as inappropriate and may and will be blurred or classed a ‘sensitive content’ on our social media.
  3. Applicants are responsible for providing their correct personal information for the organisers to contact them appropriately.
  4. Cotton On MCR does and will not have any copy right over submitted work.
  5. Cotton On MCR is not responsible for any fees relating to travel of person or work.
  6. All applicants agree to allow external communication of their artwork; not limited to publicity, press, website, social media, and any printed or digital material. 
  7. The panels decision is final, and if we’re unable to contact any short-listed artist or winner via the contact information supplied by the entrant, Cotton On MCR and/or the panel are liable to choose alternative winners.
  8. Shortlisted artists and winners will be contacted directly. The names of the winner and shortlisted artists will be published on our social media publicity.
  9. All responsibility for delivery and collection of artworks and also for any art insurance, is the artists’ responsibility.
  10. Cotton On MCR has no liability in any art work damaged in transit or in the gallery premises.
  11. There will be no alternative prizes other than those already stated. If for any reasons the exhibition be partly or wholly cancelled outside of the organiser’s control, Cotton On MCR will offer an alternative date for the event. 
  12. All entry submissions are final and entry fees are non-refundable. No compensation can be requested in any of the above cases.
  13. Cotton On MCR reserves the right to cancel this open call or alter these rules if it considers that it has good reason to do so.  
  14. Applicants are responsible for accurately pricing, sizing, and describing their artwork.
  15. Any changes to the original details provided upon application must be notified in writing to Cotton On MCR.
  16. If the work delivered does not match he information and images provided Cotton On MCR has the right to withdraw the work from the exhibition, this can either be replaced by another piece of work by the artist or a new artist will take the place.

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  1. Helen Beaumont

    Is it possible to enter a piece of blown glass which was created with an assistant?

    • cottononmcr

      Hi Helen, yes that would be fine!

  2. Vicky

    Hello – if apiece of work is framed, do you need the frame to have mirror plates for fixing to a wall? (sorry if I have missed this in the details above)

    • cottononmcr

      Hi there. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I will have to check this detail with Ian from Saul Hay gallery itself. He is helping me install the work at the gallery. I will try and get back to you on this ASAP.

  3. cottononmcr

    Hi Vicky. I have checked with the gallery owner and he says; ‘All wall based work should be strung please. This allows use of the hanging system and minimises holes in the walls.
    Unless a work is very heavy ie large, framed and glazed I prefer not to use mirror plates.’ Hope that helps.

    • Vicky

      Thank you for finding out.

  4. Roisin

    Hey, this may seem like a silly question but would any 3D art need to be in a display case or something similar?

    • cottononmcr

      Hi there. The gallery do have some plinths that the work can be displayed on, however, if you wish to have this in a display case, you will have to provide that also. Hope that helps.

  5. Alicia Corbett


    Are there any dimension restrictions? I was planning on submitting a painting that is 266cm by 150cm and positioned landscape. Will this be possible?

  6. rachel cooke

    Hello. I have just applied but I have not had an email confirmation. Is this normal? Thank you.

    • cottononmcr

      Hi Rachel, yep that’s all been received. Thanks for your submission!

  7. Mrs Jill Woods

    What date will shortlisted artists be notified please?

    • cottononmcr

      Hi! They will be contacted next week (week commencing Monday 29th March). All the best!

  8. Charity

    Hi i am failing to upload photos.Once i click upload it remains the same and won’t take me to files/ gallery inorder to upload photos. Is there any email adress that i can submit my work please? Thanks

    And is there any dimensions restrictions on paintings? Because i got one very large painting. Thanks

    • cottononmcr

      Hi there. Sorry to hear you are having issues with the form. I will send you an email with options on how to submit your application. In terms of dimensions, the walls are over 2m high so that is the maximum height of a piece. We will try and fit in as many pieces as we comfortably can, so just bear that in mind also when choosing what to submit. I hope that helps.

  9. Mrs Jill Woods

    Hi, I’ve just submitted and paid (Paypal transaction no. 26H4079624517902M) but when I clicked ‘Return to seller’ it wouldn’t take me back to the submission page, and I’ve not had a paypal confirmation email. I’m just checking the submission went through ok?

    • cottononmcr

      Hi Jill, yep, all received. Thanks for your submission!

  10. Patricia Rainey Edwards

    I have tried to submit artwork to your open call for artists but when directed to the paypal page to pay the fee it will not allow. I thought that the deadline was at midnight – has the paypal form expired?

    • cottononmcr

      Hi Patricia, not sure what the error is there, if you have entered the amount you should be able to submit it. I will drop you an email with my bank details and perhaps you can send a bank transfer for the fee.

  11. Grace Allaby

    Hello, I have entered the competition, will I receive an email confirming you have received my application?
    Thank you.

    • cottononmcr

      Hi Grace. You should have received the Paypal receipt. All has come through on my end, thanks for submitting your work!



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