New National Art Prize welcomes works from any medium or vision

Image-Steve-Johnson-on-Unsplash A new national competition for paintings of any subject has been launched offering $45,000 in prize money.

The National Capital Art Prize has been set up to support and encourage Australian artists, many of whom have had less opportunity to showcase their works in the last 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director and Founder of the National Capital Art Prize, Mr Bob Stephens, said the new annual Prize has been established to promote culturally diverse artistic endeavours and provide a forum where art can be viewed, studied, critiqued and sold.

“The inaugural 2021 National Capital Art Prize welcomes both established and emerging artists to submit pieces on any theme or genre,” he said. “We particularly did not want to put restrictions on the artists and are encouraging entrants to paint whatever they like.

The Prize will be the only art competition in Australia which allows entrants to paint any vision, such as portrait, landscape or abstract, and use any medium including oil, acrylic, watercolour, mixed media, or pencil.

Each artist can enter up to four different paintings in any combination of the four main categories which include Open, First Nations Prize for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists, Landscape and Student.

Finalists will also have the chance to win the People’s Choice Award voted by the public, and in 2021 there will also be an Art Scholarship offered in partnership with the Australian National University (ANU).

“Entrants only need to be Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia, and over 18 years of age, so we really do welcome all entries,” said Mr Stephens. “We are very much looking forward to what the 2021 competition will bring.”

The new competition has been well received by the art industry. Acclaimed Australian artist Wendy Sharpe has welcomed the news.

“It is exciting to hear about the new National Capital Art Prize, a wonderful initiative for Canberra and nationally. Prizes can make a big difference to an artist’s career encouraging both professional and emerging artists,” she said.

Experts from across Australia’s art industry will judge the inaugural National Capital Art Prize. This year’s judging panel will include:
• Emeritus Professor Sasha Grishin AM, long-term art critic and author of over 25 books
• The Hon. Justice John Sackar, President of Arts Law and advocate for the Australian arts community
• Bernard Ollis, renowned artist and former Director of the National Art School in Sydney
• Lynnice Church, renowned artist, teacher and a member of the Ngunnawal, Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi Tribes
• Peter Johnson, Curator, Projects, National Gallery of Australia
• Dr Rebekah Davis, Head of School, Art & Design, Australian National University
• Dr Sarah Schmidt, Director, Canberra Museum and Gallery

Bernard Ollis, renowned artist and former Director of the National Art School in Sydney, said, “I am honoured to be asked to be one of the judges of the inaugural National Capital Art Prize. This competition will showcase Australian talent on a national scale.”

Entries are now open and close on Thursday 1 July. Finalists will be announced on Monday 2 August and displayed in a public exhibition in Canberra from Saturday 18 September 2021. All finalists’ works will be available for sale giving the artists a strong commercial opportunity. For more information and entry guidelines, visit: for details.

Image: Steve Johnson on Unsplash