Australia is home to many brilliant amateur and professional artists, and we’re lucky to enjoy a rich and diverse artistic scene in our metropolitan, regional and rural areas. Across the country, you can find visual, sculptural and photographic art galleries, centres and institutions, all working to promote the amazing work of Australian artists.

One fantastic way to be able to indulge your love of creating art while also boosting your chances of being professionally recognised (and paid for your work) is to enter art competitions. There are a whole host of opportunities across the country that make it easy for you to showcase your talent. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of Australian art competitions for you to consider.

The Sir John Sulman Prize


Entry date: From February 2019
Entry fee: $50
Prize: $40,000

The Sir John Sulman Prize was first awarded in 1936 and is again judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW. It is awarded to the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project submitted by an Australian artist.

A genre painting is a composition representing an aspect of everyday life, whereas a subject painting is an idealised or dramatised version of a scene. To enter this competition, your work can take its theme from history, poetry, mythology or religion.

 

ga Rhythm by Peter Hickey, winner of the 2011 Sir John Sulman Prize, courtesy of the Art Gallery of NSW

Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award 2019

Entry date: 1st of March 2019
Entry fee: $45
Prize: $10,000

The Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award is a biennial acquisitive award and exhibition celebrating the diversity of Australia’s textile industry. Australian artists are invited to enter in any style of textile media. The winner will have their work displayed permanently in the Wangaratta Art Gallery’s collection. Enter here.

 

Winner 2017: John PARKES, Conflagration, 2017, cotton, wool cloth, cotton thread, hand stitch, discharge and overdye, enamel paint stains, 137 x 125cm

Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize

Entry date: 1st of March 2019
Entry fee: $30
Prize: $15,000

Established in 2015, the Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize celebrates contemporary Australian painting. The competition is open to artists who capture the breadth and diversity of painting in Australia today. The competition allows for the Bayside City Council in Victoria to add important pieces of artwork to its gallery, as well as promote local artists. The three categories include the Major Prize ($15,000), Local Art Prize ($3000), and People’s Choice Award ($1000). The 2019 BAAP judging panel includes Jane Devery (Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria), Anthony Fitzpatrick (Curator, TarraWarra Museum of Art) and Joanna Bosse (Curator, Bayside Gallery). Complete the online entry form here.

Boombox oil on canvas by Moya McKenna, winner of the 2018 Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize

2019 Calleen Art Award


Entry date: 6th of March 2019
Entry fee: $35
Prize: $20,000

The Calleen Art Award is an acquisitive art prize encouraging originality and artistic merit. The winning artwork will become part of the Calleen Collection in the Cowra Regional Art Gallery, NSW. Entries are open to original paintings in any style or subject using a traditional painting medium such as watercolour, acrylic, or oil. Find an online application form here.

Sowing the Crops and Reading the Stars, 2018 enamel spray paint, liquitex paint marker – 152 x 122 cm, 2018 winner

Footscray Art Prize

Entry date: 15th of March 2019
Entry fee: $30 for first two prizes, $20 for tertiary prize, free for young artists
Prize: Main prize $10,000; Street Art Prize $5000; Tertiary Prize $1500; Young Artists Prize 2 x $500

A biennial visual art prize for contemporary artworks, open to local and national entrants. The Footscray Art Prize does not have a theme and is comprised of four categories including the main Footscray Art Prize, the Street Art Prize, Tertiary Prize, and the Young Artists Prize. Street Art Prize entrants will have the chance to get their street art displayed on 174 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy. The Young Artists Award is open to young people in Melbourne’s west who are residents or attend school in the area. Enter online here.

Heesco Miss Citizen of the World, 2017 (on display Building D, Victoria University Nicholson Campus)

Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize

Entry date: 20th of March 2019
Entry fee: $30 for entry into the Emerging Artist Prize, $50 for entry into the Professional Artist Prize
Prize: Emerging Artist Prize - $5000; Professional Artist Prize - $35,000

The annual Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize aims to advance and celebrate the art of Australian women. There are two prize categories open to emerging artists as well as professional or established artists. Judging will be overseen by Ravenswood Australian Women's Art Prize Patron and acclaimed artist, Jennifer Turpin. Entries are open to all women and can be any medium or theme. Enter here.

Emerging Artist Winner 2018, ‘Marooned’ by Amber Koroluk-Stephenson

Paul Milburn Art Prize 2019

Entry date: 29th of March 2019
Entry fee: $38.50
Prize: $10,000

This year’s Paul Milburn Art Prize theme is ‘Landscape as a space of creative discovery’. Both established and emerging artists can submit artwork using paint, pencil, printmaking, mixed media and photography into this year’s prize. Judges are looking for artists to bring a sense of surprise and openness to their interpretation of this year’s theme. An entry form can be found here.

Joint Milburn Art Prize Winner 2018: Annie O'Rourke
We Live in a Beautiful Country

The Young Archie Competition


Entry date: March 2019
Entry fee: Free
Prize: Honourable mention and online display

The Young Archie is the version of the prestigious Archibald Prize for young people. Run by the Art Gallery of NSW, it encompasses four age categories, and is judged by the community engagement manager and a guest judge. All artworks are judged on their merits and originality, and young people are encouraged to base their artwork on someone special or important who has impacted their personal life.

Catergories: Finalists Selected In Each Category

  • 5-8 year olds
  • 9-12 year olds
  • 13-15 year olds
  • 16-18 year olds

Winner: 9-12 year olds - Nauen Lee - Age: 9 - Title: My pretty mum - Category: 9-12 year olds

Magenta Artists Art & Photography Show

Entry date: By Monday 1st of April 2019
Entry fee: $15 for the first entry, $10 for every entry thereafter
Prize: $9,000

Entries are officially open for the Magenta Artists Art & Photography Show. Budding artists, photographers, and painters across the region are encouraged to enter. Genres accepted include everything from landscape art to digital art and photography. The show is sponsored by Friends of the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens, NSW. For entry details, click here.

2018 Magenta Artists winning painting by Jan Lawler

The Wynne Prize

Entry date: April 2019
Entry fee: $50
Prize: $50,000 first prize, $5000 Trustees’ Watercolour Prize, $1000 John and Elizabeth Newman Pring Memorial Prize

The Wynne Prize is awarded annually for the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours or for the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists. It was first awarded in 1897 and is judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW. Many entries in the competition have gone on to become icons of Australian landscape art, displayed in national exhibitions and public galleries.

Winner: Wynne Prize 2018 - Artist: Yukultji Napangati - Title: Untitled - Medium: acrylic on linen - Dimensions: 244.5 x 183 cm

The Archibald Prize

Entry date: Entries delivered 9th - 13th April 2019
Entry fee: $50
Prize: $100,000 first prize, $1500 Packing Room prize, $3500 ANZ People’s Choice Award

The Archibald Prize is a celebration of artists in Australia, judged by trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW. Definitely one of the most well-known Australian art competitions, the prize is awarded to the best portrait ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics’.

First awarded in 1921, the prize aims to foster the art of portraiture, as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. It has been entered by some of Australia’s most prominent artists showcasing the most noteworthy people in our society.

Winner: Archibald Prize 2018 - Artist: Yvette Coppersmith - Title: Self-portrait, after George Lambert - Oil: oil and acrylic on linen- Dimensions: 132 x 112 cm

Kerry Cannon’s Ceramic Break Sculpture Park Acquisition Prize

Entry date: 1st July 2019
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $12,000 Acquisition Prize

A fun one for the sculpture artists out there, the winning sculpture from this competition will be put on permanent display at the Ceramic Break Sculpture Park in Warialda, New South Wales. The park opened in 2003 and features over 20 display sculptures throughout three bush walks with three dedicated galleries. The winning entry will aim to diversify the park’s collection, so it may be worth a visit to see what’s already there before you get sculpting!

 

Missing something?

Do you know of an award or art prize that we’ve missed? Contact us at Discount Art n Craft Warehouse and we’ll put it on the list.

Good luck and happy painting!