Salons & Competitions

Hidden Earth Art Salon

Hidden Earth Art Salon

The competition is open to all artists who produce artwork relating to cave or mine exploration and to sites underground. Pure photography and digitally-based art is excluded as there is a separate salon for this. Entries will be judged by a panel of three judges. In addition to paintings, drawings, and artists' prints, we like to receive a wide range of work in a wide variety of media, such as sculpture, pottery, rugs, embroidery, stained glass, and modern conceptual work.

Large-scale work is welcome and sculpture that is bigger than table-top is acceptable, if you supply a plinth. Work should be 'dressed' for display: paintings should be framed; unframed canvases should have tidy sides with no staples showing. Cartoons should be mounted on card and not just bits of paper. Framed pictures must have rings on the back to permit string to be used in the hanging of the exhibition.

The rules and guidelines for this competition have not yet been finalised for 2024. Any changes to what is published here will be made by 1 August and will, hopefully be only minor changes.

Enquiries to

How to Enter

Online entry in advance is not required for 2024. Just turn up on the Saturday morning with your work. Do not forget to make a label giving your name and the title of the work. If your work is unusually large, please contact us in advance.


All the art will be judged in a single competition. 

  • One overall winner
  • Plus certificates for "highly commended"


  • Delivery
    Your work should be delivered to the exhibition area by midday on the first day of the conference. Postal entries are not accepted. If you are late in arriving, you may find that there is limited display space left for you. You should collect your work on the afternoon of the last day of the event. Work left behind cannot be returned.
  • Eligibility
    All artists, amateur or professional, may enter the competition. We encourage new exhibitors, and we would like to see artists from many countries taking part. Winning entries from previous Hidden Earth art competitions may not be entered.
  • Subject matter and media
    This may be anything to do with the pursuit of caves and caving, executed in any media except photography (and digitally processed photos), and including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, graphic design, and conceptual art. All work entered must be original artwork – photocopies and prints of original artwork are not accepted.
  • Entry limits
    Up to five entries per artist may be submitted.
  • Judging
    This will be by a panel of three judges whose decision is final. Note that the organisers reserve the right not to award a prize if, in the opinion of the judges, the entries are too few and of insufficient standard to constitute a competition.
  • Permissions
    All works entered for the competition must have permission from the owners of all data (e.g., photographs) used in production of the entry, and this must be appropriately credited. Note that direct copying of a photograph is discouraged.
  • Display Requirements
    Work should be framed or mounted to a reasonable standard, but the organisers reserve the right not to display any work that proves difficult to handle. If any work is particularly large or has any special display requirements this must be discussed before submission. Artist's statements are not required. Work on Paper may be either mounted on card or behind a window mount, no clip frames please.

Other information and recommendations

  • Copyright
    The copyright of all entries will remain with the artists. Entries may be reproduced for display at the closing ceremony and for display during the weekend. All reproduced entries will be credited. No further use will be made of any copies without permission. No rights will be conceded to sponsors or other parties without permission of the entrants, and entrants will be free to set terms for any such use.
  • Display
    Entrants are encouraged to bring their own display stands or plinths, if possible, to enable their work to be displayed to the highest standard and relieve pressure on the conference equipment. If you can bring your own display stands, please indicate this when you submit your entry form. 
  • Judging
    Although the competition categories will each have only one winning entry, the judges will also award ‘highly commended’ status to entries that are worthy of mention.
  • Feedback
    Although we usually try to organise a feedback session, this is not currently scheduled for the 2023 event.
  • List of Winners
    A list of competition winners is made available to the media on request and is also published on the Hidden Earth website. Reproduction of winning entries is governed by the competition rules and is in accordance with the guidelines of the Artists Bill of Rights Campaign.
  • Loss, Damage & Insurance
    Every care will be taken of the entries, but the organisers cannot accept responsibility for any damage or loss. The organisers will not be insuring any work and, if required, entrants should make their own arrangements.
  • Sales
    Artists wishing to sell their work may display a price. A commission of 15% will be levied on the sale price.