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

The Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing

Entry date: Open Now - 9th January 2019
Entry fee: $50
Prize: $25,000 first prize, $2000 People’s Choice Award

2019 will be the 14th year that the Perry Prize has been running. It is one of the most well regarded and valuable drawing competitions in Australia, and is run by the Perry Gallery in Adelaide. With a new judge every year, the competition was judged in 2018 by Anne Ryan, the curator of Australian prints, drawings and watercolours at the Art Gallery of NSW. This competition was named after Miss Adelaide Elizabeth Perry (1891-1973). Miss Adelaide Perry taught at the Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC) from 1930 - 1962, in CROYDON NSW (where the Perry Gallery is located) . 


Winner of the 2018 Perry Prize for Drawing. Ceara Metlikovec Indigo 5, January 2018 - Graphite on Fabriano paper 140 x 94.5cm

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

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!