Three Counties Open Art Exhibition

An open-call visual arts exhibition for artists connected to Staffordshire, Cheshire or Shropshire

Submission for this year's Three Counties Open Art exhibition closed on the 12th June 2024 and we received the most entries ever with 268 artists sharing work as part of the open call. We are excited to announce that of the 268 submissions, 98 artists will be showing work during the summer in this year's show. 


Due to unforeseen urgent building work required during the summer holidays, the School of Art Building is no longer available for the exhibition. Excitingly we have been offered the opportunity to move the show over to the stunning Burslem Former Town Hall, which is just a stones throw away. Whilst we are disappointed about losing the the School of Art as a base this year we are very much looking forward to transforming the Burslem Former Town Hall and feel privileged to have the opportunity to situate the exhibition there and due to it being non-public-access usually giving you the opportunity to experience the beautiful building when you visit. 


Exhibition Launch Day.
Saturday 27th July 2024, 11am - 3pm.
The first chance to see the work of all 98 artists in this years show plus the talented work from young people across the City Learning Trust schools. The day will be a real celebration of the talent found across the three counties of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire. There will also be creative activities, music, singing, you can vote for your favourite Audience Choice entry and enjoy tea and cake! FREE ENTRY.

Open Art 2024 Awards Evening.
Friday 16th August 2024, 6-8pm.
A special evening for artists featured in the show. We will announce the winning artists in this years exhibition. Invite only.

Prizes to be announced:
Three Counties Open Art Prize 2024 sponsored by Keele University
Arthur Berry Prize sponsored by New Vic Theatre Archive Fund
Sustainability Prize sponsored by North Staffordshire Friends of the Earth
Newcomer Award sponsored by Barewall
Young Artists Award sponsored by City Learning Trust
The Art Studio Prize sponsored by The Art Studio
ACAVA Residency Prize
Urban Wilderness Documentary Photography Prize

The Audience Choice Prize sponsored by Appetite will be announced once the exhibition closes on the 24th August, giving the public the opportunity to vote throughout the summer. 


Who is involved in shortlisting the work submitted for the exhibition?

The selection panel 2024.

Person looking at you with colourful shirt, smiling. Sort grey hair. Columned building in the background. Amanda Bromley is founder of Barewall Art Gallery, a commercial art gallery in the heart of the Potteries, Burslem now in its 15th year. Having worked with museums and artists to curate exhibitions, write books, host shows, talks and sell works. "Its been quite the journey. The  city's creative story is endless meaning the chance to work with over 300 years of touchable stories; whether from the people, the buildings, the ceramics, the landscape or the art. Blending our art history with contemporary work gives a fantastic unique visual dynamic for the gallery, the artist and our city. The annual Three Counties is a beacon, celebrating our creativity together. I love the chance to preview of the work, and thank all for their submissions."  

"Born in Burslem, I moved to London at 18 graduating in '92 to work in the city as a developer for investment banking. As a fairly poor student in London I got to visit my first art exhibition discovering an innate love of art. I have been collecting and supporting the arts ever since."   

A person tending to a garden, wearing denim and a waistjacket. Long brown hair. With building to the rear brick with white windows. Anna Francis is an artist and researcher whose work aims to create space to discuss and reframe city resources, through participatory art interventions.

She creates situations for herself, the public and other artists to explore places differently. In recent years the interventions which Anna has worked on focus on the city of Stoke-on-Trent, and use an action research process to recognise untapped resources, plan responses to disused sites in the city, take action to change the way these sites are viewed, and potentially, make changes, which can be temporary and sometimes permanent. Through this, Anna aims to gain an understanding of the role of artists, arts organisations and communities in the development of places.

Anna has been a practising artist since 2006. Through Anna’s work as an artist she has led many public art projects, exhibitions and activities. Key themes within that include artist and community led development, greening urban spaces and rethinking Brownfields.

Anna is Associate Professor of Fine Art and Social Practice at Staffordshire University, UK and has taught part time at the University since 2005, and is a Co-Director of The Portland Inn Project. Born in Canterbury, Kent, she first moved to Stoke-on-Trent, UK in 1997, and now lives here permanently with her partner and two children.

A group of people sat around a table talking. One person wearing a brightly coloured shirt with yellow ducks on. Appetite’s selection panel is made up of community members local to Stoke-on-Trent and the Borough of Newcastle, including our Supper Club, Lunch Club, and individual residents from across the local area. These groups regularly meet to engage with Appetite and make decisions about our programming, representing a diverse range of people.

Two women looking forward and smiling. One with chin length brown hair and fringe wearing a mix of black and white other with long white blonde hair wearing yellow and white check.. Kerry and Deb have worked in Arts & Culture for over a decade and have worked with incredible artists and practitioners. You will most likely have seen them around! ArtsKeele lead the Three Counties Open and have done for over 11 years now. The selection of artists for the show is always the toughest bit for them, but also inspiring to see how many amazing artists we have locally.

Man smiling wearing denim shirt with window pane in background white light shining through Dan joined ACAVA in 2015, employed alongside a small team of local artists, to help construct 43 artist studios at the former Spode site in Stoke on Trent. 

Dan has since continued to maintain his fine art / photography practice from the studios and currently works as a relationship manager for ACAVA, looking after both the property and programmes in Stoke on Trent. 


Man looking forward, dark hair, deep red shirt Manish Harijan is a Nepal born artist who lives in Sheffield, UK. Manish is award winning artist on New Art Exchange open 2023 in the UK, through art, Manish questions the injustices inflicted upon minorities and the lived experiences of vulnerable populations in all societies around the world. His work traverses the east and the west, casting iconic images from religion to pop culture, smoothly embedding them in one canvas to create bold  and thought-provoking paintings.

Manish's artwork acquisitions for the UK’s Government Art Collection 2020/21. His works have also been exhibited at New Art Exchange Nottingham, Welt Museum in Vienna, Museum of Communication in The Hague, Nepal Art Council in Kathmandu, Yorkshire Art Space in Sheffield, India Art Fair in New Delhi, CKU Copenhagen in Denmark, October Gallery in London, ROSL Gallery in London, Bloc Project Sheffield, Artist’s Journey #3 in the UK and Solo show at Yorkshire art space gallery 2022 at Sheffield UK.

Who is involved in planning the Three Counties Open Art 2024?

Our Partners.

ACAVA converted part of the historic 250 year old Spode ceramics factory to provide 43 artists studios, an exhibition space and professional development programmes. Completed in 2018 in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Arts Council England. ACAVA has been a key partner in developing the Open Art Exhibition since it moved to its new home in Burslem in 2017. In addition to being a partner, ACAVA Spode Works offers a residency award to three artists each year who feature in the Open Art Exhibition.

Appetite is a Creative People and Places programme with a mission to get more people in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme to experience and be inspired by the arts. In addition to being a key partner, Appetite deliver the Three Counties Open Art Audience Choice Award where members of the public select a favourite piece from a shortlist of works featured in the exhibition. They also engage both their Lunch Club and Supper Club community groups in the selection of works as part of the shortlisting process. Post-show Appetite organises an exhibition called Featured where all Audience Choice artists and artists who have won prizes can share their work.

Keele University has a vibrant arts programme, comprising art, music, poetry, performances and other cultural events. We have our own gallery located in the Chancellor’s Building, and host a wide range of events throughout the year, including a full and varied music programme, public lectures and live poetry readings. We are fortunate to have interesting collections, including the Keele University Art Collection; the Raven Mason collection of Staffordshire ceramics; and our Special Collections and Archives located in the University library. ArtsKeele leads in bringing together the annual programme and the Three Counties Open Art has been a key part of Keele University activities for over 20 years. The ArtsKeele team plays a core role in the coordination and delivery of the Open Art Exhibition.

Barewall Art Gallery based in Burslem, Stoke on Trent established in 2010, offers British 20th century modern and contemporary; art, ceramics and sculpture by artists from and connected to Staffordshire, Cheshire and the North. The gallery also has a hand selected range of gifts and artist signed prints. Barewall has been a partner since the show moved from Keele University campus to Burslem in 2017, Amanda from Barewall was pivotal in this move having been part of the Open Art Exhibition as a judge since 2015. The gallery also sponsors the Best Newcomer prize. 

The Burslem School of Art Trust is a self-financing, not for profit arts, community and creative organisation. The School of Art Trust was set up to ensure the future of the Burslem School of Art Building in Burslem. Neil Dawson has been a core member of the Open Art team and aside from being very much hands on and present on site during the summer, sponsor the Sustainability Prize.

The Character & Arts Foundation is a completely unique organisation imagined and brought to life by The City Learning Trust. Funded independently and exclusively via donation, it aims to deliver a world-class programme of activities for children and young people across Stoke-on-Trent and the neighbouring regions. 

City Learning Trust was established in 2014 to bring together a group of like-minded schools who wanted to improve standards of education across their communities. City Learning Trust are based in both the Burslem School of Art building and also the Former Town Hall in Burslem where the exhibition is taking place in 2024. The exhibition features work from their schools including Trentham Academy, Haywood Academy, Millhill Primary and Smallthorne Primary.

Burslem Town Hall.

Our venue for 2024.