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Photography & Fine Arts

The Big E Creative Arts Theme for 2021: "20”

Use your imagination and Be creative!

2020 Big E Fair Cancelled

It is with heavy hearts that we announce that for the safety of our fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, volunteers & the broader community, the 2020 Big E has been cancelled and there will not be any Creative Arts competitions, judging, or exhibits.

The information contained in the links on this webpage are posted for reference only. All dates referred to in 2020 are cancelled. The webpage will be updated with 2021 information by mid-May 2021.

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding this year.We look forward to welcoming everyone to the 2021 Big E Fair, September 17 to October 3, 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are there any Creative Arts judging of entries in 2020?

No, unfortunately, there will be no competitions or judging of any entries in 2020.We hope you will enter in 2021.

If I submitted an entry for 2020, what will happen to the fees paid and my entry.

We will process and mail a refund of any entry fees paid for 2020.You will need to resubmit an entry for 2021 when we open entries in May 2021 for the 2021 Big E Fair. If you entered a photograph, you will need to upload your photograph for 2021; they will not remain in our system from 2020.

Will you still accept entries for the 2020 theme "20" for the 2021 Big E Fair?

Yes, the 2021 theme will be "20". We know many of you already had your "20" projects started and we look forward to displaying them in 2021.

Will you be extending the made within 3 years rule for crafts and taken within 1-year rule for photography entries in 2021?

Yes, we will update the 2021 catalog to extend to 4 years for crafts and 2 years for photography entries for 2021 only.

How can I be added or remain on the email list to be notified of dates in 2021?

If you are already receiving emails, you will remain on the list and you will be contacted in 2021.If you would like to be added to the email list for 2021 to receive announcements about when entries will begin to be received for 2021, new contests and deadlines, please email

Is the Creative Arts office in the New England Center open?

The Creative Arts office has been closed for the remainder of 2020.

If I have any questions about the Creative Arts?

Please email

We hope to see you in 2021. September 17-October 3, 2021.


Departments- 2020 (Cancelled)

All photographs and photographs of artwork must be submitted online
to be juried by August 1. Please submit photographs in JPEG format. Only those works selected will be invited to submit printed and mounted photos and art work for The Big E Creative Arts Competition. An email will be sent to entrants and juried results will be posted online by August 15 for notification of accepted entries. Award of premiums and awards will occur from the physical pieces after they have been delivered to the Creative Arts Department on photography receiving day and meeting all entry requirements.

Please read the rules carefully for details on submitting your photography. All those entering are required to read the Creative Arts Rules & Regulations in addition to the Department Rules.

August 1: Entry Form AND Photograph to be submitted online. No entries will be accepted after August 1.
August 2-17: Jury Review
August 18: 5:00 pm Entrants notified by email
September 3: Receiving accepted entries 8 am to 6 pm in the New England Center
September 4: Judging, closed to the public
October 5: Release of exhibits 12 pm to 7 pm
October 6: Release of exhibits 8 am to 1 pm
November 1 All unclaimed items become the property of Eastern States Exposition and will be disposed of as deemed necessary.

For additional Information, please contact Creative Arts at or call 413-205-5015.

The Big E has an attendance of over one million visitors each year. Award donors provide valuable incentive for our exhibitors.If you would be interested in donating an award for this contest please contact or via phone at (413) 205-5015.

Volunteering during the Fair entitles you to an entry pass as well as a vehicle pass. Please consider volunteering for Creative Arts as an avenue to share your love of the arts while chatting with the public and other volunteers.

Click here to learn more about volunteering.


Example of photo mounted to foam core with NO Matting.  


  • Entry Mounting and Size Limitation
    • Photo Size Range:8” x 10” to 9” x 12”, vertical or horizontal.
    • All photos must be mounted on 11” x 14” foam core that is at least 3/16” thick. No matting is allowed.
    • Please be advised that Velcro will be affixed to the back of each photo for display purposes.
    • Any exhibit not complying with these specifications may be disqualified and may not be displayed.
    • If an actual object does not “match” the digital image which has been accepted, (i.e., if the digital image has been manipulated for appearance) then the actual object will not be accepted for exhibition.
    • No hangers or frames of any kind
    • No cardboard
    • No tape that is not designed for photograph mounting

To mount your 8”-9” by 10”-12” photo onto 11” by 14” solid color foam core with NO Matting (Suggested instructions):

  1. Draw in light pencil, a rectangle on the center of foam core that is slightly smaller than your photograph to be used as a placement guide. You may also use an 11x14 mat with an 8” x 10” opening to trace a placement guide onto the foam core.
  2. Place your photograph face down on a clean surface. Apply double sided adhesive all the way around the edges, as close to the edge as possible and an adhesive strip in the center of the photo, or spray the back with an adhesive spray.
  3. Place your photograph in the center (both vertically and horizontally) of the 11” x 14” foam core using the guide you drew on in Step 1.
  4. Using a soft cloth, press down in the middle of the print. Then swipe from the middle out to one corner, smoothing the print down flat as you press down the adhesive on the edges. Continue swiping from the middle out to make sure the print is as flat as possible.
  5. On the back of the foam core, place the entry tag provided in the email that was sent with the confirmation email of your acceptance. The entry tag can be printed in color or greyscale. Trim the entry tag to approximately 8 ¼” x 6 ½”. This should be taped face up on the back of the foam core, top center.
Sample of Photo Entry Tag emailed to exhibitor with acceptance email.  
Entry Identification
  • All exhibitors must affix an official entry label to the back of the photo that was emailed to the exhibitor with notification of acceptance. You may print the entry label in color or greyscale. Please trim to 8 1/4" x 6 1/2"
  • Put entry label facing up on the back at the top of the middle of photo as we affix sticky back hook and loop fasteners to the 4 corners of your photos for display purposes.
  • If you did not receive the confirmation email with an entry tag/Label and you have confirmed your name is on the list of accepted photographs to be displayed, please email
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