Dr Donnie Ross FCRA, President of the Aberdeen Artists Society wrote to tell us what he likes about using OESS.

During the last five years, along with my colleagues in Aberdeen Artists Society (AAS), I’ve used OESS to set up four or five exhibitions, some of which were online-only, with two real-world shows in major gallery venues, accompanied by parallel on-line exhibitions. I’ve also entered artworks to many selected exhibitions in the UK including Northern Ireland, so I have experience from the artist’s side too.

Easy to use for all user levels

I’ve found OESS easy to use whether as an entrant, selector or administrator. Registering to enter an exhibition makes it simple to return to one’s entry form as a work in progress, to pay the entry fees to the organisers and to find out the results of selection. From the same registered account it’s a simple matter to enter artworks for other exhibition opportunities. Registering also has the benefit of receiving notifications and reminders from the OLIST about upcoming exhibitions and approaching deadlines.

The process of selection and the logistics of delivering artworks are much simplified by using OESS, since only the pre-selected works need to be delivered and processed.

In finalising the selection of artworks, OESS can be set to limit the numbers of works according to their score, so as to meet the exhibition standards and to fit the physical gallery space available.


The physical logistics of setting up a major exhibition are of course no small matter, and encountering the physicality and presence of an artwork in the real world is naturally a very different affair from viewing it on-screen; however these are compromises worth making, since time and resources are scarce and everyone’s expectations of speed, efficiency and professionalism are high. As one would expect in modern IT systems, the principle of once-only entry is central, so errors of transcription are no longer a problem.

Admin tools and Support

The OESS suite of Admin tools is impressive and incredibly well thought out. On the very rare occasions I’ve encountered a problem, the response from Int-Tech / OESS has been very rapid and effective.

The OESS Admin section includes downloadable reports which can be saved in the standard spreadsheet formats in Excel, and will form the basis of the lists of artists, contact details, artwork names, prices and so on, and from which images can be extracted for use in exhibition catalogues and publicity material. The facilities are comprehensive and powerful, but naturally demand a moderate amount of expertise to ensure professional outcomes.

During exhibitions, enquiries come in from all directions about every topic imaginable. OESS makes it simple for the Administrator to access all information input by entrants, so it takes very little time to resolve most problems.

Online Exhibitions

OESS provides an extensive suite of tools for setting up and arranging online exhibitions, whether as a stand-alone show or as an accompanying version of the real “in-gallery” exhibition. Having set up and named the requisite number of virtual rooms, the artworks are arranged according to whatever layout system is considered appropriate, to end up with the best and most impactful hang, making imaginative use of the creative artworks available. However, the virtual exhibition is unlikely to mirror the real-world show, for obvious reasons to do with the physical impact and dimensions of the work, which aren’t apparent during online selection; this needn’t be an impediment, since it actually provides us with an opportunity to create an alternative show online with a different interpretation of the materials.

Keep an eye on the Aberdeen Artists Society for news on their future open calls and exhibitions.