Australia has a rich and diverse artistic scene, with all of our capital cities and regional centres playing host to an array of visual, sculptural, and photographic art galleries, centres and institutions.

If you’re an artist yourself, you may not realise that there are a whole host of art competitions available for you to share your creativity with others and showcase your talent to others. Here is a comprehensive list of Australian Art Prizes, premier through to obscure, listed by month of entry deadline. Read the details and check the links for more information on a particular award.

Open Easter Art Exhibition

Dates: TBC - mid March 2018
Entry fee: $10 for MACS members, $20 for non-members
Prize: $2,000 for each category (total $6,000)

Montague Art & Craft Society Inc. (MACS) in Narooma is a non-profit, recreational arts centre which provides members, visitors and the local community with facilities, encouragement, education and promotion of the arts.

The Open Easter Art Exhibition is open to artworks in the categories of painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, digital, textile and ceramic. Entries close mid-March 2018, and the successful works will be exhibited over a three day weekend in April 2018.

2017 Winner: Janet Jones, Aspirations.

Image source: Janet Jones via Narooma News

Gallipoli Art Prize

Dates: TBC - mid March 2018
Entry fee: TBC
Prize: $20,000

First announced in 2005, the Gallipoli Art Prize was developed in both Australia and Turkey to commemorate the legacy of those heroes who fought on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

The Gallipoli Art Prize is awarded to the artist who best portrays the spirit of the Gallipoli Campaign, as expressed in the Gallipoli Memorial Club’s creed:

We believe that within the community there exists an obligation for all to preserve the special qualities of loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship which were personified by the heroes of the Gallipoli Campaign and bequeathed to all humanity as a foundation for perpetual peace and universal freedom.

To be eligible you must hold citizenship or have been born in Australia, New Zealand or Turkey. The contest is limited to one piece per artist, with all expenses covered by the artists.

2017 Winner: Amanda Penrose Hart, The Sphinx, Perpetual Peace

Image source: Amanda Penrose Hart via Gallipoli Memorial Club

Nillumbik Prize

Dates: TBC - mid March 2018
Entry fee: TBC
Prize: $5,000 non-acquisitive

The Nillumbik Prize is a celebration of contemporary works of excellence in any medium by artists with a connection to Nillumbik. Artworks in any form are accepted with artists encouraged to explore their relationship with the Nillumbik region.

Applications close in March 2018 with entrants notified by late April 2018. The exhibition takes place at the Barn Gallery, Monsalvat during June and July of that year.

2017 Winner: Anna McDermott, 1. the outside limit of an object, area, or surface
2. move or cause to move gradually or furtively in a particular direction
digital video still printed on canson cotton rag 105cm x 59cm

Image source: Anna McDermott via Nillumbik Shire Council

SWELL Sculpture Festival

Dates: Mid February - Mid March 2018
Entry fee: $45 (TBC)
Prize: $25,000 total prizes (TBC)

SWELL Sculpture Festival is an annual event held on Currumbin Beach, the Gold coast, that supports the growth of artists showcasing and promoting their work in a free public exhibition that attracts over 275,000 visitors annually.

SWELL endeavours to strengthen the community and identify of the Gold Coast through celebrating the natural and cultural heritage of the surrounding landscape through the means of artistic expression.

While submissions are currently closed for 2017’s SWELL, you will be able to see all 50 finalists on exhibition between the 8-17th September 2017.

2016 Winner: Alicia Lane, Rainforest Remnants.

Image source: Alicia Lane via Swell Sculpture

Magenta Artists Art & Photography Show

Dates: April 2018
Entry fee: $15 (TBC)
Prize: Totally prizes over $7,000 (TBC)

Taking place every April, the annual Magenta Artists Art & Photography Show is a three day event held at the inland Botanical Gardens near Mildura, attracting a diverse bunch of local and touring artists and collectors.

Offering over $7000 in prizes, artists and photographers are encouraged to submit in mixed media, digital art and photography categories. 2017’s event ran from the 14-17 of April.

2017 Art Winner: Fiona Merlin

Image source: Fiona Merlin via Magenta Artists

Hadley's Art Prize

Dates: January 2018 - April 2018
Entry fee: TBC
Prizes: (TBC)

  • $100,000 Acquisitive Prize
  • $2,250 x 4 Highly Commended Prizes
  • $5,000 People’s Choice Award (non-acquisitive)

Hobart’s own Hadley’s Art Prize promotes interest in cultural tourism by sharing the work of contemporary Australian landscape artists. Finalists will be given the opportunity to sell their work, establish new industry connections and engage with the Tasmanian community.

The competition celebrates drawing, painting and printmaking by Australian artists over 18 years old. Finalists will be given the opportunity to sell their work, establish new industry connections and engage with the Tasmanian community. The winning artwork will be acquired by Hadley’s Orient Hotel for their permanent art collection.

While entries are closed for 2017, this year's exhibition will take place between 15 July - 25 August 2017 at Hadley’s Orient Hotel.

2017 Art Winner: Peter Mungkuri, Ngura Wiru (Good Country)

Image source: Fiona Merlin via Magenta Artists

The Obi Art Prize

Dates: September 2017 - April 2018 (TBC)
Entry fee: $20 (TBC)

  • The Obi Art Prize: $3,000
  • The Obi People's Choice Award: $2,500
  • The Obi Youth Award: $1,500 (for artists between the ages of 11-18)
  • The Obi Encouragement Award: $250 (for young artists up to 10)

The Maleny Neighbourhood Centre’s Obi Art Prize endeavours inspire artists to create works around a positive social theme. Although entries for the 2017 prize are now closed, the exhibition will be held in July at the Maleny Community Centre.

Works for 2017s exhibition are around the theme ‘Respect’, and need to relate to one the following 4 social areas:

  • Aboriginal Healing
  • LGBT issues
  • Domestic Violence
  • Refugees

2017 Winner: Guy James Whitworth, James - Mermaid Hair

Image source: Guy James Whitworth via Obi Art Prize

Kilgour Prize

Dates: TBC - April 2018
Entry fee: $50

  • Major prize $50,000 every year
  • People’s Choice $5,000

The Kilgour Prize is an annual art prize for figurative and portrait painting held annually by Newcastle Art Gallery. Its history dates back to 1987, when artist Jack Kilgour bequeathed funds for the creation of a major portrait art competition to be run perpetually at Newcastle Art Gallery.

Entry for 2017s prize has already closed, but works will be exhibited between Saturday 5 August - Sunday 15 October 2017. Expect 2018’s entry window to close near the end of April.

2017 Winner: Cameron Stead, Between you and me

Image source: Cameron Stead via Newcastle Art Gallery

Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture Award

Entry Dates: December 2017 (TBC) - April 2018
Entry Fee: TBC

  • $10,000 Sculpture Award
  • $500 People’s Choice

HIDDEN is an exhibition that takes place inside Rookwood Cemetery, showing some of Australia's best sculpture in the unique surrounds of Australia's largest cemetery. The exhibition is a platform for community participation, and while it remains respectful of its setting, it strives to de-stigmatise some of the misconceptions surrounding cemeteries as dark and intimidating places.

There isn't a formal entry process. Rather artists are encouraged to speak with the curator. 2017’s winner was Colin Fraser with Retaining Tradition in the Face of Death.

2016 Winner: Clara Adolphs, Headstones

Image source: Clara Adolphs via Hidden in Rookwood

Pro Hart Outback Art Prize

Entry Dates: February - May 2018 (TBC)
Entry Fee: $35

  • First Prize - $15,000 Acquisitive
  • Second Prize - $2,500
  • Encouragement Award - $1,000
  • People's Choice - $500

The Pro Hart Outback Art Prize is an annual acquisitive competition which showcases work in any medium that celebrates the spirit and diversity of the Australian Outback. For the 2017 competition, exhibition dates run from 30 June - 13 August 2017.

Winning works are added to the nationally recognised collection at the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery, the oldest regional art gallery in New South Wales.

2017 Winner: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Footprint

Image source: Abdul-Rahman Abdullah via Broken Hill City Council

Corangamarah Art Prize

Entry Dates: TBC - June 2018
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: $7,500

The Red Rock Regional Theatre and Gallery aims to provide the local communities of Cororooke and the surrounding area, with a diversity of cultural activity for all ages and abilities throughout the community.

For the Corangamarah Art Prize 2017, artists were invited to interpret the theme ‘Con.ceit’ – “a concept; that which is conceived, imagined or formed in the mind, an idea, thought, image, a personal opinion” – in any medium of 2D. The exhibition will took place at the Red Rock Regional Theatre Gallery between 6 August and 27 August 2017. The theme for 2018 is yet to be determined.

2017 Winner: Victoria Howlett, Picnic in the Hills

Image source: Victoria Howlett via Red Rock Regional Theatre and Gallery

Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing

Entry Dates: TBC.
Entry Fee: $38 one entry, $48 two entries, $60 three entries.

  • Major Prize Winner - $4,000 in acquisitive prizes
  • Honourable Mention - $500
  • People’s Choice Award - $500

A long term resident of Fortitude Valley, Marie Ellis was a dressmaker who contributed a lifetime of service to the community, inspired by her love of the Girl Guide movement, children and arts. For over 60 years, she resided at what is now Jugglers Art Space.

After her passing in March 2003, the Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing was established to help perpetuate Marie’s memory, and to encourage excellence in drawing as an important foundation for any arts practice.

Each year, 25 finalists are selected and displayed at the gallery during August, with winners announced at the end of the month.

Bowral Art Gallery 2018 Pirtek Still Life Prize

Entry Dates: TBC.
Entry Fee: $20 per artwork for members, $30 for non members. There is also a 30% commission on any works sold during the event.

  • First prize is $3,000
  • People’s Choice award is valued at $500

The Pirtek Still Life Prize is a favourite with visitors to the Bowral Art Gallery and is their most popular annual exhibition. Sponsored by Pirtek Southern Highlands, this competition showcases still life in any media and draws a work of a high standard from international and local artists.

Of note, the Bowral Art Gallery hosts a number of other exhibitions annually, including the Young & Emerging Artists’ Prize, the Wingecarribee Landscape Art Prize, and the Bowral Sculpture Prize.

2017 Winner: Rowan Robertson, Celadon

Image source: Rowan Robertson via Bowral Art Gallery

VFFA Art & Craft Show

Entry Dates: TBC
Entry Fee: $50
Prizes: $5,000

The Australian Fly Fishers’ Art and Craft Show welcomes artists to enter works of any medium, related to angling and any aspect of fly fishing. Open to sculpture, art, photography, metalwork and many other creative endeavours, this prize and show attracts emerging and established artists.

Successful entries from the 2017 competition will be exhibited between 13 and 16 September 2017 at the Celtic Club, 316 Queen Street Melbourne. You can find the entry details here.

Gippsland Print Award

Entry Dates: August 2018 (TBC)
Entry Fee: $20
Prizes: $5,000 (acquisitive)

The Gippsland Art Gallery first opened in 1965 and is today one of regional Victoria’s leading art galleries. Every year the gallery hosts exhibitions of historical, modern and contemporary art, and features works by artists both local and international.

The Gippsland Print Award is open to all artists living and working in Australia, for prints that have been completed since 1 September 2015. The winner will be announced on 1 September 2017, and the successful entries will be exhibited in the Gippsland Art Gallery between 2 September and 19 November 2017.

2015 Winner: Martin King, Dawn Survey—Indigo.

Image source: Martin King via Wellington Shire Council


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Know of an award or art prize we’ve missed? Contact us and let us know and we'll put it on the list.

Good luck!