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Visual Arts

The RUA Annual Exhibition is one of the most eagerly anticipated exhibitions in the Northern Irish cultural calendar, providing a unique platform for acclaimed artists and emerging talent to showcase their artwork in the fabulous galleries at the Ulster Museum.  It is also a chance for the public to engage with a fully democratic, free admission exhibition.

The exhibition contains approximately 250 examples of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video etc. This year there were almost 1,300 entries of which 190 were ultimately selected for inclusion. Some of the works reflect the times we are living in and allude to isolation, social distancing and surviving in Covid times.  Other works share deep messages with hope, humour, passion and integrity.

In its 139th year, the RUA has faced a grim challenge in the form of the Coronavirus pandemic. There were moments when it seemed like the exhibition might be cancelled but resilience and determination won.

This year’s exhibition at the Ulster Museum is open to the public from 16 October 2020 to 3 January 2021 and is not to be missed.  The exhibition can also be experienced online using cutting edge technology that brings art to the people wherever they are.

Please note that booking is currently essential to gain access to the Ulster Museum.


The Ulster Museum has been awarded the ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry standard mark, certifying that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and have the required processes in place.

  • Ulster Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays. Admission is free but visitors should pre-book date and time slot online. Admission cannot be guaranteed if you have not secured your timeslot.
  • Ulster Museum’s Welcome Team will be there to answer questions, navigate your arrival, direct you to the ticket validation queue (e-ticket or pre-printed) and make this experience as easy as possible for you.
  • Book online at https://www.nmni.com/whats-on/ulster-museum-tickets
  • Admission to Ulster Museum is free, but to ensure your safety, visitors must pre-book a timeslot. All you need to do is select the date you want to visit and your timeslot. That’s it.
  • Bookings are limited to 10 people maximum and face masks should be worn.
  • National Museums NI supports the Department of Health’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy for public health in response to Covid-19.  The information is held in line with data protection legislation and NMNI privacy policy.

Click here to find out more.