Frequently Asked Questions


How do I become a member?

The quickest way to apply for membership is to apply on-line.  It is a two step process:

  • Using the menu bar above, under "Member Services" click on “Renew Your Membership”.  This will take you to the membership page.  Under new applicants:  click on New Visitor Registration and follow the prompts to fill out the on-line membership application and pay for your dues in the Online Store. In addition, you will need to submit two images for review to
  • For those who prefer to send in materials, an applicant needs to submit by mail two 4x6 photographs of their current work for review, along with a current membership application form located under the membership tab, along with the current annual membership fee.

It is mid-year, are the OPA membership fees prorated?

No.  The membership fee applies no matter what time of the year a member is joining.  However, individuals who join in December will be marked as paid for the following year.  Those who join later in the year will receive the National Show catalog provided it is available.

How long does the review process take?

The review process varies depending on the time of the year.  Usually, it takes 3-4 weeks, however, during the National Show it can take longer due to the number of entries and membership applications being processed.  If a deadline for an exhibition is approaching and you have not heard from the organization, please call 815-356-5987

Will my money be refunded if I am not accepted for membership?

Yes, payment is returned if an applicant is not accepted.

What kind of member will I be when I join?

There are 3 levels of membership for artists within OPA:  Associate, Signature, and Master Signature. New member artists come in as associate members of the OPA.  Once an individual has met certain criteria, he/she may apply for Signature status.  Once a Signature member, an artist is eligible to apply for Master Signature status.

How do I apply for Signature Membership?

Associate members who have been accepted into three OPA National Exhibitions or two OPA National Exhibitions and three OPA Regional Shows (regional shows must be within the last five years) are eligible to apply for Signature status. 

Application forms can be found on the OPA website and are due October 15.  The applications are reviewed by Signature Review Committee and then sent to the Board of Directors for final approval.   Notification will be sent out in mid-December.

How do I apply for Master Signature Membership?

All Signature members who are in good standing are eligible to apply for Master Signature status. 

Application forms can be found on the OPA website and are due on September 1.  The applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of Master Signature Members and are sent to the Board of Directors for final approval.  Notification will be sent out in mid-December.

Deadline to submit for Signature status

October 15 of each year

Deadline to submit for Master Signature status

September 1 of each year

How many regions are there and how do I know which one I am in?

OPA divides its membership into two regions: Eastern and Western Regions.  Members can determine their region by either clicking here or looking on the OPA website under the Education and Events Section. 

I can’t find my name in the Membership Directory.

In the Membership Directory, type in your first & last name or just your last name and your information will come up.  You can also browse and use the alphabetical listing.  For example, if you put an “A” in you will get all the members whose last name begins with “A”.  You can also search by City and/or State.

I’m having trouble accessing my membership information.

On the OPA website, click on “Members Only”.  Log In using your email address and personal  password.  Then, click on “My Information” to access your data.

My password doesn’t work.

Call OPA @ 815-356-5987 or send an email to and we will reset your password.

How can I add my website to the OPA database?  How can I change my address?

On the OPA website, click on “Members Only”.  Log In using your email address and personal  password.  Then, click on “My Information” to access your data.  To add or change any information click on the “edit” link.

Did I pay my dues this year?

Click here to login, then click on the OnLine Store & Dues. You will see your name at the top of the screen with your current expiration date.  If, after you have completed this, you feel there is an error or have questions, please send an email to or call the OPA office @815-356-5987.

Do I have to pay the annual dues before I’m notified of acceptance as a member of OPA?

We need to receive your annual membership dues and images before you will be notified of acceptance.  If you are not accepted your membership dues will be refunded.

Can students be members of OPA & enter shows?

Yes!  All artists, regardless of age, who are painting in the traditional, representational style, will be considered for membership. The approval process does require that an artist display competency beyond a beginner level.

Can you join OPA & enter a show at the same time?

Yes, OPA will accept your membership application and  entry as long as your electronic membership fee is paid by the specified date in the prospectus or  your mailed membership application with your annual dues are postmarked by the date specified in the prospectus.  You must still go through the review process.  If you are not approved for membership a full refund will be issued.

I paid my membership dues.  Why isn’t my name listed in the National Catalog?

In order to be listed in the National Catalog, a member must have paid their dues for the year in question prior to the catalog cut-off date which usually occurs January 31st. We encourage all members to pay their dues promptly in order to ensure their name is printed in the catalog.

Jurying into Regional and National Shows

How many regions are there and how do I know which one I am in?

OPA divides its membership into two regions: Eastern and Western Regions.  Members can determine their region by either calling the OPA office, or by clicking here.

Can I enter a show in a region other than my own?

No.  An artist must reside in a state that is designated within a particular region, with the exception of the Master Signature members who are able to submit to all regional shows.

How many paintings can I enter in a show?

An artist can submit 2 paintings for a Regional or National Show, however; only one painting can be accepted.

I’ve never entered a show on-line before, is it difficult?

To make the process as simple as possible, you should keep in mind that there are four steps to entering a show on Juried Art Services.  The first step is to create an account.  If you already have one you do not need to create another one.  Whether you already have an account or are creating a new one, be sure to keep your login information in a safe place.

The second step is to create a portfolio and upload the images of the paintings you would like to enter into the OPA Show.   Each piece of art must have a name/title, dimensions and description of the piece/materials/techniques.  To make changes to your portfolios, click ‘Manage My Portfolios’ from Artist Tools, then select the portfolio to edit.

Now you are ready to enter the OPA Show.  Check the specifications for the competition you are applying for to make sure you have the correct number of images.

Select the category for your art from the list.
Enter a brief description if you wish.
Select the art work you want to enter by clicking on the image or the check box.

After you have submitted all your images, you will see a preview of your artwork exactly as the jurors will see it.  After you are satisfied with the layout click SAVE.

The next thing is to pay for your entry.  Once you are satisfied with your application click the pay now button to proceed to the payment screen.  Be sure to have your credit card information readily available.  Enter your credit card information and click SUBMIT.  A dialog box confirming your transaction will appear.  A receipt will automatically be emailed to you to verify your payment.

 If you ever want to make changes to your application prior to the cut off date click the ‘Manage My Applications’ tab and select the application to edit.  After the cut off date all applications are locked and can no longer be modified.

I can’t get into JAS.  What do I need to do?

If you cannot login to JAS, we suggest you wait until the next day and try again.  You can also e-mail us at or go directly to Juried Art Services at:

I did not receive my notification e-mail, how can I be sure my entries were juried?

On occasion, members will not receive the proper notification that they are suppose to receive.  Sometimes the e-mail is entered incorrectly or no longer valid, other times the e-mail is considered to be spam and is blocked. 

All members can confirm that their entry has been received by logging into their account and selecting “Managed Applications”.  Here you can view your completed application and see how the judges marked your entries.  A green check indicates your painting has been accepted.  A red “X” means your painting has been declined.

Shirl Smithson Memorial Scholarship

How do I apply for the Shirl Smithson Memorial Scholarship?  When does notification take place?  Do I have to send slides?  Can I send a disk?

All Associate members are eligible to apply for one of four $500 scholarships to attend an oil painting workshop.  These scholarships are provided annually.  Members can fill out an application found on the OPA website and submit it along with a CD or slides of their work.  Deadline for submission is is December 1.  Artists who have received a scholarship in the past are eligible to apply again.

Brushstrokes Newsletter

How can I get information in the Newsletter?

OPA members who are interested in submitting information for inclusion in the “Painting Our Future” section can e-mail information to

Paint Outs

I am interested in hosting a Paint Out.  What is the procedure?

OPA’s Great Paint Out occurs during the months of September through November. Members who are interested in hosting a paint out are encouraged to do so but need to commit by July 1.  The goal is to have one paint out in each state every year, and sometimes more depending on the size of the state.  Instructions on hosting a paint out are located on the website.  Once you determine that you would like to host a paint out, you should submit your completed form to  Be sure to do it early.

Why isn’t there a Paint Out in my state?

Paint outs are strictly organized by volunteers.  If there isn’t a paint out in your state that means no one volunteered to organize one for that particular year. 


What is the process to have my painting critiqued?

Members should submit two CD’s with 6-10 images of their work, along with a check for $25.  OPA will send your images to one of many Signature and Master Signature members who have volunteered to be a part of this very important service.  (Non members fee is $50)  Please note, it can take a few months to receive feedback.

Collectors Corner

Can you recommend an artist that I can hire to do a portrait of me?

OPA has over 3,000 qualified artists who specialize in a number of areas including portraitures.  To begin your search go to the OPA Membership Directory and search by portraiture. 

I have a painting by an artist named John Smith.  How can I locate this artist?

All current OPA members can be found on the OPA Membership Directory.  If a name does not appear in the OPA Membership Directory, they are currently not a member of the organization.  OPA was founded in 1991.  OPA does not have any records or information pertaining to artists prior to this time.  There are several websites you can check when looking for a specific artist:,, and If you think the artist was from your local area, check with your local art league.

OPA is happy to help connect collectors with OPA members and will try to facilitate communication between the two parties if contact information is not readily available.  That being said, OPA will not divulge members’ phone numbers or addresses, but will be happy to call a particular artist on a collector’s behalf.