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.

Kennedy Prize

Entry Dates: Now - 6th August 2018
Entry Fee: $40
Prizes: $25,000
Location: Adelaide
Exhibition Dates: 09 - 23rd September 2018

The Kennedy Arts Foundation presents the Kennedy Prize. An Austraiian arts award that is open to artists all around Australia. This years theme is "Beauty", and the award will recognise the work that embodies, comments or celebrates the theme. The competition accepts painting entries, which could include acrylic, wate colour, oil and many more. If you're an emerging artist you are encouraged to apply.

If you would like to visit the exhibition you can see it from the 9th September at the Royal South Australian Society of Arts in Adelaide. To enter this competition be sure to fill out the entry form, which you can find here

Plein Air Painting Prize

Entry Dates: 2 July - 6 August 2018.
Entry Fee: $50
Prizes: $20,000
Location: Sydney
Exhibition Dates: October 2018

The NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize is an acquisitive art prize of $20,000 awarded for the best ‘plein air’ painting of NSW subject. The term ‘plein air’ refers to the practice of painting outdoors, in direct engagement with nature and where the transitory effects of light can be observed and recorded. It details more than just landscape, it encompasses mood and atmosphere as well.

Finalists and semi-finalists are exhibited at the Parliament of NSW, Sydney in October 2018. You can find the entry details here.

2017 Winner: Rachel Ellis, Bentinck St, Bathurst

Corangamarah Art Prize

Entry Closes: Friday, 17th August 2018
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: $10,000

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 7th - 28th October 2018. 

2017 Winner: Victoria Howlett, Picnic in the Hills

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

Paddington Art Prize

Entry Dates: Now - 17 August 2018
Entry Fee: $50 or $90 for a two work entry
Prizes: $30,000, $3,000 & 2 x $1,000 (gift certificate)
Location: Sydney
Exhibition Dates: 12 - 22 October 2018

The Paddington Art Prize is a $30,000 National acquisitive prize, awarded annually for a painting inspired by the Australian landscape. Entrants are encouraged to interpret the landscape as a significant contemporary genre and our national ethos.

Each year, 50-60 artists are selected by three distinguished judges and their work showcased in the Exhibition of National Finalists held every October at 111-113 Queen Street, Woollahra. The finalist’s painting are for sale during the exhibition, which runs for 10 days.

A painting must not be larger than 1.5 x 2 metres including frame. Media used may be oil, acrylic, watercolour, mixed media/collage or pastel. More entry details here.

September 2018

Evelyn Chapman Art Award

Entry Dates: Now - 15 September 2018.
Entry Fee: $25
Prizes: $50,000
Location: Sydney
Exhibition Dates: October 2018

The Evelyn Chapman Art Award is a new $50,000 scholarship to be presented to an Australian painter aged 18 - 45 years. The Award is to be used to support further education both in knowledge and artistic practice and can be used to study at a recognised and well-established art school or for work on a program or project that will enhance artistic skills. Applicants can submit one to three landscape, portrait or still life paintings in oils or tempera.

Evelyn Chapman was the first female artist to depict the devastated fields, churches and towns of the western front following the First World War. Learn more about Evelyn Chapman and the art prize here.

Megalo International Print Prize

Entry dates: Now - 23 September 2018
Entry fee: $40 for 1 work or $60 for two works
Prizes: $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,000
Location: ACT
Exhibition Dates: November

The Megalo International Print Prize is open to all artists over 18 years for works created after January 2017. Submitted works must be classified as one of / or a combination of the following: Intaglio, Relief (woodcut/linocut/engraving etc), Lithography, Screenprint/Silkscreen. Digital prints are ineligible, unless combined with one or more of the above processes.

Finalists will be announced Friday 26 October and all works will be made available for sale as part of the exhibition held at Megalo Print Studio and Gallery. More details here.

Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award

Entry Dates: Now - 28 September 2018.
Entry Fee: $40 + GST ($30 + GST for members)
Prizes: $50,000, $3,000, $500
Location: Bega, NSW
Exhibition Dates: 26 October - 8 December 2018

The Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award is one of Australia’s most loved and richest portrait awards. Given every two years, it awards $50,000 to the “best portrait painting in any 2D medium (excluding photography, digital media or bas relief) being a realistic depiction of a particular living person”. Visitors to the Award’s exhibition at Bega Valley Regional Gallery are invited to vote for their favourite portrait to determine the People’s Choice $3,000 prize. Staff of the Bega Valley Shire Council will select a mailroom prize worth $500.

There is no limit to the number of entries but a seperate application form and entry fee must accompany each entry. Learn more here.

2016 winner: Sally Robinson, Ella Rubeli

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

Entry Dates: Now - 3 October 2018.
Entry Fee: $50
Prizes: $50,000 and 2 x $5,000
Location: Melbourne
Exhibition dates: 24 November - 9 December 2018

The A.M.E. Bale Travelling Scholarship and Art Prize is awarded every two years to an emerging Australian artist demonstrating talent and achievement in traditional styles. This includes realist, figurative and representational styles. The Art Prize is intended to encourage and support those pursuing the study of old masters and the practice of traditional art.

Applicants should include details of a proposed overseas tour of art galleries that contain works of old masters. In lieu of an overseas tour, artists may be subsidised for a period of time in which to study the works of old masters and the practical aspects of painting in traditional styles in Australia.

You can find the entry details here.

2016 scholarship winner: Ben Winspear

Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture Award

Exhibition Dates: 1 September - 1 October 2018

  • $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


Missing something?

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!