Art Prize Opportunities

Visual Arts Writer

There are hundreds of Art Prizes and Awards in Australia, so knowing the one to choose is not easy when it comes to positioning your artwork. Get the advantage with this list.
Art Prize Opportunities

One of the biggest challenges for an art prize today is defining its point of difference within a highly competitive field. There are hundreds of Art Prizes and Awards in Australia. Knowing the one to choose is not easy when it comes to positioning your artwork, so ArtsHub gives you a little help with this list.

Get the advantage by knowing the dates to plan your entries and give your career the best chance you can. Having your work seen as a finalist could be that step up you have been looking for, and entering can be a great professional exercise as an artist. Start planning now.

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Here are some of Australia's top and lesser known prizes

Portrait of L. Gordon Darling by Jianwei Shen; The Prize will recognise the significance and relevance of portraiture in Australia and will be an ongoing legacy of Mr L Gordon Darling AC CMG (1921-2015); courtesy the artist and NPG Collection

Darling Portrait Prize

Closes: July 2019

The National Portrait Gallery’s Darling Portrait Prize aspires to be the most prestigious portrait painting prize in the country, held at the home of Australian portraiture. The winner of the annual Darling Portrait Prize will receive a cash prize of $75,000. The subject of your portrait must be an Australian citizen or resident, or is significant to Australian life.

Previous Winner Charlie (detail) by Lee Grant; courtesy the artist

National Photographic Portrait Prize

Closes: 23 October 2018

Time to get snapping as entries are now open for this premier photography prize. Thanks to the National Portrait Gallery and Canon Australia, the Winner of the 2019 National Photographic Portrait Prize will be awarded over $50,000 in prizes. $30,000 cash from the Portrait Gallery and photographic equipment from Canon to the value of $22,148. Plus there are other prizes up for grabs.

Misim Song, Desolate II (detail), 2017. Finalist in the 2017 Blacktown City Art Prize.

Blacktown City Art Prize 

Closes: 9 October 2018

Now in its 23rd year, the Blacktown City Art Prize is a highly valued art prize with cash prizes of $20,000 and acquisitive awards. Artists are invited to submit entries in drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics and mixed media. The addition of a studio residency to the prize pool is an exciting opportunity for artists who want to engage with people or places in Blacktown.

Selected works will be exhibited at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre from Saturday 1 December 2018 – Friday 25 January 2019.

Image courtesy Georges River Council.

Georges River Artist in Residence 

Closes: 28 September 2018

Applications are closing soon for the Georges River Artist in Residence Award. The Carss Park Artist's Cottage, in the former Ranger's house, provides a studio and accommodation for one artist and is located in a picturesque bush park setting on the Georges River. Local, regional and international artists across a wide range of art forms are invited to apply for periods of up to three months between November 2018 and December 2020.

2016 Winner Sally Robinson with her portrait of Ella Rubeli, courtesy the artist and Bega Valley Regional Gallery

The Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award

Closes: 28 September 2018

$50,000 non-acquisitive prize for realistic portraiture. The SHNPA will be awarded to the 'best portrait painting in any 2D medium (but excluding photography, digital media or bas relief) being a realistic depiction of a particular living person'. The Prize is presented by the Bega Valley Regional Gallery.

Image courtesy the National Art School.

National Art School Dobell Prize 

Closes: 31 October 2018

The Dobell Drawing Prize is a new biennial prize and exhibition presented by the National Art School in association with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation. The Prize is an open call to all artists and aims to explore the enduring importance of drawing and the breadth and dynamism of contemporary approaches to drawing. It is a $30,000 acquisitive award and major exhibition explores the enduring importance of drawing within contemporary art practice.

Closing soon

Paul Guest Prize

Closes: 9 September 2018

The Paul Guest Prize is a non-acquisitive cash prize of $15,000 which is held biennially, highlighting contemporary drawing practice in Australia.

Splash: McClelland Contemporary Watercolour Award

Closes: 12 September 2018

$30,000 will be awarded to the most worthy original work in watercolour, and $10,000 awarded for a highly commended work. This prize is acquisitive.

National Trust Evelyn Chapman

Closes: 15 September 2018
A $50,000 scholarship to be presented to an Australian painter, male or female under 45. The Award will be given to support a young Australian painter by furthering their art education both in knowledge and artistic practice internationally or in Australia.

The A.M.E. Bale Travelling Scholarship and Art Prize

Closes: 3 October 2018

The A.M.E. Bale Travelling Scholarship and Art Prize is awarded biennially to Australian artists who have demonstrated talent and achievement in traditional styles. This includes realist, figurative and representational styles. $60,000 in prizes.

More Art Prizes

2018 Mosman Art Prize Closes: 10 September 2018

Whitsunday Coast Airport Indigenous Art Competition – Closes: 10 Sep 2018

Kangaroo Valley Art Prize & Exhibition – Closes: 12 Sep 2018

2018 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize – Closes: 14 Sep 2018

Megalo International Print Prize – Closes: 23 Sep 2018

9×5 Landscape Prize 2018 – Closes: 2 Oct 2018

50th National Pottery Competition 2018 – Closes: 9 Oct 2018

Tom Malone Prize – Closes: 19 Oct 2018

North Sydney Art Prize Closes: 31 Oct 2018

Emma Hack Art Prize Closes: 22 Jan 2019

Glover Prize – Closes: 25 Jan 2019

The Alice Prize National Contemporary Art Award – Closes: 16 Feb 2019

Geelong Acquisitive Print Award – Closes: 23 Mar 2019

Dates and details on all prizes are valid as of 6 September 2018.
Please check the respective prizes website for terms and conditions and any changes. 

About the author

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