Major UK Art Competitions 2017-18

Major Art Competitions in the UK


LINK to or BOOKMARK THIS PAGE to find updates in one place!

Updated continuously

  • Overview of the basics for each competition - listed by year below (I've been running this page since 2010 and it gets updated on a rolling basis)
  • Prizes: List divided into major and minor art competitions on basis of main cash prize
  • Calls for entries - for UK (and international artists for some competitions)
  • Deadlines - look out for the red dates highlighted
  • Selected Artists - with websites embedded in names
  • Exhibition reviews - with images
  • PLUS 
    • links to tips about entering art competitions 
    • notes about VAT for international artists entering UK art competitions
the biggest art competition in the world


How to enter & terms and conditions


This page provides the absolute essentials. Below are ways in which you can find out more information about each competition.
  • Calls for Entries: I do a ‘Call for Entries’ post about most competitions that provides a systematic overview plus hints and tips. 
    • The aim is to provide simple answers to simple questions about who can submit, what can you submit, how to enter etc. 
    • The reason these are important is because while links to the call for entry pages of organisers may disappear after the competition is over, you can always be sure that you can check out key details about what has been said in the past about eligibility and criteria in my regular Call for Entries blog posts.
  • Selected Artists: I often do listings of selected artists with a link to their website embedded in their names - which often generate a lot of traffic for artists website. Make sure I can find your website if you get selected!
  • Exhibition Reviews: Reviews of exhibitions I've seen are also listed below. These include photographs of the artwork selected for the juried exhibition where possible. These can be helpful to those thinking about submitting an entry to future art competitions - or so I'm told! :)

If you have a query leave a comment at the bottom of this post.  
(If you don't want the comment published just say so - as all comments are moderated)

Ready for the Awards Ceremony?
This is Sandy Nairne, the (then) Director of the National Portrait Gallery
opening the Awards Ceremony for the BP Portrait Award in 2014

Tips for artists entering exhibitions


You may find these helpful
and for those needing help with framing...

Tips for organisers of art competitions

You may find these past blog posts helpful

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Major UK Art & Photography Competitions 

2017-18



Listings for art competitions are split into two categories based on the prize money on offer.
  • To be considered a major art prize in the UK on this page there needs to be 
    • at least one prize which equates to or exceeds £10,000
    • and/or attracts international artists because something very prestigious is on offer
  • Also listed are minor competitions where the prize money is not great but getting selected can be good for the CV!

Plus I'm specifying what the prizes are and whether or not the competition is open to only UK artists or international artists

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MAJOR UK ART COMPETITIONS in 2017-18


(i.e. 1st Prize £10,000 min. and/or on television)


Deadlines for UK Art Competitions in 2017




January 2017


  • RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition -  12 midday on Monday 16 January 2017
  • BP Portrait Award 2017 - Thursday 26 January 2017

February 2017


  • Royal Academy of Arts - Summer Exhibition - Wednesday 15 February (assuming you've already registered)
  • Wildlife Artist of the Year 2017 - February 20th 2017
March 2017
  • Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year - 3rd March 2017

April 2017


  • Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2017 - 12pm (midday) on Friday, 28th April 2017

June 2017


  • Jerwood Drawing Prize - June 2017(?)
  • Sunday Times Watercolour Competition (based on 2016)

October 2017


  • ING Discerning Eye 2017 (based on 2016) - September 2017 (?)

November 2017


  • John Moores Painting Prize 2018 -  likely to be early November 2017

December 2017


  • Lynn Painter-Stainers 2018 (based on 2016)
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BP Portrait Award 2017 (First Prize £30,000)


Awards Night: Clara Drummond - BP Portrait First Prizewinner in 2016
with Jenny Saville - well-known artist and one of the Judges

  • Official Website: Register for competition and Information
  • Prizes: First Prize: A cash award of £30,000, plus, at the judges’ discretion, a commission worth £5,000, to be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist.
    • Second Prize: £10,000
    • Third Prize: £8,000
    • BP Young Artist Award: £7,000 (eligible artists are aged between 18 and 30)
    • BP Travel Award 2016: £6,000
  • Open to: International Artists (and has a very significant international entry each year)
  • Call for Entries:  Making A Mark: £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2017 - How to enter and how to get selected This includes links at the end to all past blog posts about the competition in previous years and a wealth of images of portraits that have been selected
  • Deadline for Entries: Entry forms and payment of entry fees must be completed by 23.59 on Thursday 26 January 2017. Note the deadline is earlier! 
  • No. of Entries: 1 completed AFTER 1 January 2016
  • Digital Entry: YES (First Round)
  • Exhibition: 
    • Venue: National Portrait Gallery (and usually a tour to two other locations)
    • Dates: 22 June - 24 September 2017
  • Selected Artists:
  • Shortlisted artists: 
  • Prizewinners:
  • Exhibition Review:
  • Other posts:

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2017 (First Prize £15,000)


to encourage the very best creative representational painting and promote the skill of draftsmanship..... Only original, two-dimensional works in any painting or drawing media, that have been completed in the last three years, and that have not been previously exhibited, are eligible.
    • UKLiving artists over the age of 18, who are resident in the British Isles - irrespective of whether or not they are a British citizen. 
    • International Artists: NO if residing abroad; Also UK artists residing abroad are ineligible
  • Call for Entries: Making A Mark: Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2017: Call for Entries
  • Deadline for EntriesMonday 19th December 2016 at 5pm (17:00 GMT).
  • No. of Entriesup to 4 works
  • Digital Entry:  YES - digital and online for all entries
  • Exhibition 
  • Selected Artists:
  • PrizewinnersChristopher Green wins Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2017

The Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize (£10,000)

  • Website: Information/Enter: http://ruthborchard.org.uk/self-portrait-prize/
  • Prizes
    • Overall Winner £10,000 cash prize
  • Open to
    • UK & Ireland:  YES - open to both amateur and professional artists, living and working in the UK or Ireland
    • International Artists: No. 
  • Call for Entries: Making A Mark: Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize 2017 - Call for Entries
  • Deadline for Entries: midday 12 April 2017.
  • No. of EntriesOne self-portrait only
  • Digital Entry: Yes 
  • Exhibition: 
    • Venue: at Piano Nobile Kings Place
    • Dates: Friday 18th May to Friday 22nd September 2017
  • Selected Artists:
  • Prizewinners:
  • Exhibition Review:

David Shepherd's Wildlife Artist of the Year 2017 (First prize £10,000)


View of 2016 Wildlife Artist of the Year competition

This is the 10th anniversary year for a competition that attracts entries from all over the world.
  • Website: Information/Enter: http://www.davidshepherd.org/way/
  • Prizes
    • Overall Winner £10,000 cash prize & title ‘Wildlife Artist of the Year 2017’ 
    • Overall Runner-Up £1,000 cash prize. 
    • Remaining Category Winners £500 each
  • Open to
    • UK:  YES - open to both amateur and professional artists over the age of 17
    • International Artists: YES - no residence requirement 
  • Call for Entries: Making A Mark: 2017 Wildlife Artist of the Year - Call for Entries
  • Deadline for Entries: February 20th 2017
  • No. of Entriesup to 5 pieces of artwork
  • Digital Entry: Yes - but entries by post also accepted
  • Exhibition: 
    • Venue: Mall Galleries
    • Dates: June 27 - July 2
  • Selected Artists:
  • Prizewinners:
  • Exhibition Review:

The Royal Academy of Arts - Summer Exhibition 2017


View of one of the main galleries in the 2016 Summer Exhibition


Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018

  • Website: Information/Enter:
  • Prizes: £10,000 commission from the National Trust + £500 of art materials from Cass Art
  • Open to: all artists over 16 legally resident in the UK for at least 1 year prior to 1st December 2016
    • UK: Yes - You must be available for filming between 3-14th April 2017 and subsequent dates for the semi-Final and Final
    • International Artists: No
  • Call for EntriesTerms and Conditions
  • Deadline for Entries: 12pm (midday) on Friday, 3rd March 2017
  • No. of EntriesOnly one entry can be submitted per person
  • Digital Entry: Yes
  • Notification: on or shortly following 17th March 2017
  • Filming of Heats: Wallace Collection on 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, and 12th April. (Open to the public)
  • Exhibition: 
    • Venue: Wallace Collection
    • Dates: 
  • Selected Artists:
  • Shortlisted artists: 
  • Prizewinners:
  • Exhibition Review:
  • Other posts:

Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2017



The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2017 (First prize: £10,000)


View of 2016 Sunday Times Watercolour Prizewinners
...the largest and most prestigious prize for contemporary watercolour painting in the UK. This is the one that most watercolour painters want to be selected for as a mark of credibility on their CV.
  • Website
  • Prizes
    • a First Prize of £10,000, 
    • Second Prize of £6,000, and 
    • the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize of £1,500. 
  • Open to
    • UK: YES - all artists born or currently resident in the UK
    • International Artists: NO - unless currently officially resident in the UK
  • Call for Entries: March 2017
  • Deadline for Entries: June 2017 (?)
  • No. of Entries: second round shortlist is limited to 250 paintings
  • Digital Entry: YES
  • Exhibition
    • Venue: Mall Galleries - expected to be c.100 paintings
    • Dates: September 2017 (?)
  • Selected Artists:
  • Prizewinners: prizewinners typically announced in advance of the exhibition in the Sunday Times
  • Exhibition Review:
  • Previous exhibitions: see this post for an archive of my blog posts (at the end) about exhibitions going back to 2008

The Columbia Threadneedle Prize for Figurative & Representation Art 2018


View of the Threadneedle Prize 2016 Exhibition
This competition is going to be run every other year. The next competition will be in 2018.
  • Website: Information/Enter: http://www.columbiathreadneedleprize.com
  • Prizes
    • First Prize: £20,000 Prize plus a a solo exhibition in the Threadneedle Space at Mall Galleries (valued at £10,000)
    • Shortlisted artists receive £1,000
    • Visitors' Choice Award is worth £10,000 to the winning artist.
  • Open to
    • UK:  YES aged 18 or over on 1 January 2015, presently living or working in the UK or Europe
    • International Artists: YES (Europe only)
  • Call for Entries
    • July 2017 - for 2018 exhibition
    • July 2019 - for 2020 exhibition
  • Deadline for Entries: 
  • No. of Entries
  • Digital Entry:
  • Exhibition: 
    • Venue: Mall Galleries
    • Dates: February 2018
    • Goes on tour in late 2018
  • Columbia Threadneedle Prizewinner's Solo Exhibition: Mall Galleries - July 2019 
  • Previous posts about the exhibition: see archive at the end of this post

Royal Horticultural Society Botanical Art Show 2018

  • Website: Information
  • Prizes: RHS Gold Medal
  • Open to: International artists
  • Call for Entries: soon?
  • Deadline for Entries: July 2017 (?)
  • No. of Entries: ?
  • Digital Entry: No. Four original examples of botanical illustration, mounted but not framed, should be sent to the Picture Panel Secretary before the selection meeting.
  • Exhibition: 
    • Venue: RHS Lindley Hall (also at Malvern show in the summer)
    • Dates: February 2018
  • Selected / Shortlisted Artists
  • Prizewinners:
  • Exhibition Review:

John Moores Painting Prize 2018 (First Prize: £25,000)

"[The John Moores Painting Prize is] the Oscar of the British painting world"Sir Norman Rosenthal, curator and former exhibitions secretary at the Royal Academy
  • Website: Information/Enter: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/johnmoores/index.aspx
  • Prizes
    • first prize of £25,000 
    • four prizes of £2,500
  • Open to
    • UK:  YES - Must be over 18 and live or be professionally based in the UK
    • International Artists: NO
  • Call for Entries: expected to be September 2017
  • Deadline for Entries: likely to be early November 2017
  • No. of Entries: one painting only - a new or recent work, preferably created since 1 January 2016
  • Digital Entry: YES - first round
  • Exhibition: 
    • Venue: Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool
    • Dates: July - November 2018
  • Selected Artists:
  • Shortlisted artists: 
  • Prizewinners:
  • Exhibition Review:

MINOR COMPETITIONS (smaller financial prizes)



RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2017



View of the 2016 RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition
The judges are looking for pieces that push at the boundaries of watercolour, promote water-based media at its most accomplished and ask audiences to see the medium in a new and contemporary light....  This is the UK's only major watercolour competition open to international artists.
  • Website: Information/Enter: http://www.royalwatercoloursociety.co.uk/competition/
  • Prizesa range of prizes comparable to open exhibitions of other national art societies 
    • David Gluck Memorial Award: £750 Cash Prize 
    • David Gluck & RWS Award: £250 Cash Prize 
    • Royal Watercolour Society Award: £500 Cash Prize 
    • Royal Watercolour Society Exhibitions Award: Exhibit in RWS Spring and Autumn Exhibitions 
    • RWS Publicity Prize: Your selected work on exhibition printed publicity material
  • Open to
    • UK: YES - open to all artists except RWS Members.
    • International Artists: YES
  • Call for Entries - published. 
  • ExhibitionRWS Contemporary Watercolour Exhibition 2017
    • Venue: Bankside Gallery (South Bank)
    • Dates: 3-15 March 2017
  • Deadline for Entries12 midday on Monday 16 January 2017.
  • No. of Entriesa maximum of 6 paintings
  • Digital Entry: YES
    • Selected Artists - List
    • Exhibition Review 

    Jerwood Drawing Prize 2017


    Jerwood Drawing Prize is an annual exhibition and cash prize opportunity for artists at all stages of their careers working with drawing, launched in 1994. It supports excellence and promotes and celebrates the breadth of contemporary drawing practice in the UK
    • Website: Information
    • Prizes: listed are 2016 prizes (update when call for entries published)
      • First Prize – £8000
      • Second Prize – £5000
      • Two Student Awards – £2000 each
    • Open to
      • UK: 
      • International Artists:
    • Call for Entries
    • Deadline for Entries: June 2017(?)
    • No. of Entries
    • Digital Entry:
    • Exhibition: 
      • Venue: Jerwood Space
      • Dates: September - October 2017 (?)
    • Selected Artists:
    • Shortlisted artists: 
    • Prizewinners:
    • Exhibition Review:

    Royal Horticultural Society Botanical Art Show 2018

    RHS Botanical Art Show 2016 in the RHS Lindley Hall in City of Westminster

    ING Discerning Eye 2017

    View of one of the six curated exhibitions in the ING Discerning Eye 2016 Exhibition
    The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition is a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world
    • Website: 
      • Information/Enter: http://www.discerningeye.org/exhibition/intro/intro.php
      • Organisers website: Parker Harris
    • Prizes: A number of significant smaller cash prizes
      • ING Purchase Prize £5,000 
      • DE Founder's Purchase Prize £2,500
      • DE Chairman's Purchase Prize £1,000
      • The Meynell Fenton Prize £1000
      • The Humphreys Purchase Prize - £750
      • The Wright Purchase Prize £500
      • St Cuthberts Mill Award £250
      • Regional Prizes £250 x 6
    • Open to
      • UK: YES - ONLY artists who were born or are currently resident in the UK.
      • International Artists: - NO - unless currently resident in the UK
    • Call for Entries
    • Deadline for Entries:  September 2017 (?)
    • No. of Entries: limited only by six selectors: two artists, two art collectors and two art critics
    • Digital Entry: YES
    • Exhibition: 
      • Venue: Mall Galleries
      • Dates:  November 2017 (?)
      • a very large exhibition with c.600 small artworks
    • Selected Artists:
    • Shortlisted artists: 
    • Prizewinners:
    • Exhibition Review:
    • Previous blog posts: You can find a list of previous blog posts about the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition - going back to 2007 at the end of the embedded link.
    ________________________________________________


    Major UK Art & Photography Competitions 2016

    __________________________________________________

    The following competitions have finished

    ING Discerning Eye 2016


    Cover of the Information leaflet

    The Columbia Threadneedle Prize for Figurative & Representation Art 2016

    Salt in Tea by Lewis Hazelwood-Horner

    BP Portrait Award 2016 (First Prize £30,000)

    View of the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2015 and the winning double portrait

    RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2016


    Reference:
    Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2016 - Prizewinners at the Mall Galleries exhibition

    The Royal Academy of Arts - Summer Exhibition 2016

    Entries will be capped at 12,000, which is in line with the maximum number of entries received in recent years. Ensure you register and purchase your Entry Form early to avoid disappointment.

    John Moores Painting Prize 2016


    Jerwood Drawing Prize 2016

    The selected exhibition will consist of works that in the opinion of the Selection Panel qualify as drawings.
    • Conditions of Entry: the Rules & Guidelines
    • Deadline for Entries:  5pm on Monday 27 June 2016  CLOSED
    • Selected Artists
    • Prizewinners

    The 3rd Derwent Art Prize 2016

    We would really love to see lots of entries in coloured pencil as well as water-soluble, pastel, graphite or charcoal pencils



    The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016


    Reference re. 2015

    Past Exhibitions: an archive of images from past exhibitions 

      Other Opportunities

      You can also find a much wider range of professional opportunities for visual artists, selected by artists for quality and fairness listed by ArtQuest (a programme of University of the Arts London (UAL) and a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England)

      _____________________________________________

      2015

      Major UK Art & Photography Competitions 2015

      In the absence of any information relating to 2015 (or 2014) competitions, artists are recommended to look at my blog posts below relating to the previous year which indicate:
      • an overview of the call for entries, prizes, dates and deadlines in 2013
      • links to the websites of selected artists
      • reviews of exhibitions and images of the work which was selected last year - which may or may not be a guide to what will be selected this year. It's usually more of a guide to the type of work which is unlikely to be selected.

      BP Portrait Award 2015


      BP Travel Award 2013 Exhibition and 2014 Award:

      (the competition, award and exhibition run parallel with the BP Portrait Award) 

      Reference: 

      RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2015


      ________________________________

      ING Discerning Eye 2015

      _________________________________

      Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2015 (First Prize £15,000)

      to encourage the very best creative representational painting and promote the skill of draftsmanship..... Only original, two-dimensional works in any painting or drawing media, that have been completed in the last three years, and that have not been previously exhibited, are eligible.
        Note: Links to my blog posts about previous years can be found at the end of my blog posts relating to 2015 


        ________________________________

        The Royal Academy of Arts - Summer Exhibition 2015

        Entries will be capped at 12,000, which is in line with the maximum number of entries received in recent years. Ensure you register and purchase your Entry Form early to avoid disappointment.
        ________________________________

        David Shepherd's Wildlife Artist of the Year 2015 (First prize £10,000)

        2015 Wildlife Artist of the Year: http://www.davidshepherd.org/way/
        ________________________________


        The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015

        Reference re. 2014:
        There was no exhibition in 2015 due to various changes behind the scenes. The aim is to give The Threadneedle Prize even greater visibility and the plan is to tour a selection of the 2016 exhibition to Europe. More details will follow

        • The Threadneedle Prize website: http://www.threadneedleprize.com 
        • Prizes: (£20,000 plus solo show)
        • Call for Entries: Online submission opens on 13 July 2015, 12 noon
        • What to submit 
        • How to submit
        • Deadline for Entries - 
        • Selected Artists: 
        • Prizewinners:
        • Exhibition: 3 to 20 February 2016 at the Mall Galleries 

           Threadneedle Winner 2015: Tina Jenkins' Solo Show 30  March to 11 April 2015 10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day)

          Jerwood Drawing Prize 2015 

          • The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2015  website
          • Call for Entries: Parker Harris - see my blog post Jerwood Drawing Prize: Call for Entries
          • Deadline for Entries - 5pm on 26 June 2015
          • Selected Artists: to be announced Friday 17 July 2015 
          • Prizewinners: to be announced
          • Exhibition:  Jerwood Space, London from 16 September – 25 October 2015 

          Derwent Art Prize 2015

          There will NOT be a Derwent Art Prize competition in 2015. In future the competition will run every other year. The Call For Entries will be published in January 2016 and the exhibition will be later in the year. 



          ________________________________________________________________________

          2014

          Major UK Art & Photography Competitions 2014

          The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize 2015

          • Call for Entries 
          • First Prize is a bursary of £20,000
          • Deadline for Entries -  12 noon on Monday 30th March 2015
            • Generally a very uninformative website which says a lot about the benefits and very little about the criteria, terms and conditions and deadline. It suggests this is a competition run by people who are not used to running art competitions or fail to understand the information artists want to scan to work out whether it's worth pursuing. 

            The John Ruskin Prize

            The Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014

            The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2014 £10,000

            Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014 First Prize £6,000

            The Derwent Art Prize 2014 First Prize £6,000

                  Threadneedle Prize for Painters and Sculptors 2014 First prize £30,000?

                    Clare McCormack and Lisa Wright - Joint Winners of the Threadneedle Prize 2013

                    ING Discerning Eye 2014 (plus The Discerning Eye Drawing Bursary)

                      Northern Art Prize 2014

                        _______________________________________________________________

                        2013
                        Major UK Art & Photography Competitions 2013


                        BRIEF summaries of entry arrangements and deadlines are detailed below 
                        - with links to more information. 

                        For a more detailed overview for each competition see my schedule of all the Major Art Competitions in the UK in 2013 (posted on this blog in January each year) All competitions are listed in order of the date of the deadline for entries
                          • Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2013 Only original, two-dimensional works in any painting or drawing media, that have been completed in the last three years, and that have not been previously exhibited, are eligible.
                          • The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize
                            • Call for Entries - 1st September 2012
                            • Deadline for Entries - Noon, 30 January 2013 CLOSED
                                    Major Art Competitions outside the UK 2013
                                    In 2013, I intend to highlight the major International Art Competitions which are hosted in other countries.  All suggestions as to which competitions should be featured are welcome - please leave a comment.

                                      ________________________________________

                                      2012
                                      Major UK Art & Photography Competitions 2012
                                        • Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year (First Prize £10,000)
                                              • The 2012 Saatchi Gallery / Sunday Telegraph Art Prize for Schools (First Prize £10,000)
                                                  _______________________________________
                                                  2011
                                                  UK Art Competitions 2011
                                                  • Lynn Painter-Stainers 2011CANCELLED
                                                  ______________________________________________________________________________
                                                  2010
                                                  UK Art Competitions 2010

                                                    2 comments:

                                                    Lisa Elliott said...

                                                    Hi, my name is bronwyn. I'm 11, I justed wanted to ask if there will be anymore comps coming up and if I would be able to enter with a portrait of a yawning fox!? If not then I look forwards to growing up and ... well my dream job is to be a artist!!! But I need to work very hard. Thank u for reading this i hope u reply. From Bronwyn ;)

                                                    Katherine Tyrrell said...

                                                    Hi Bronwyn.

                                                    All the competitions are listed - but I only list the major ones so there may well be ones for children of your age.

                                                    I think your picture of a yawning fox would be better off in a competition for wildlife paintings rather than one for portraits as the portrait ones usually want pictures of people.

                                                    Good luck with your art career - and remember to become good you need to paint a lot!

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