New National Art Prize welcomes works from any medium or vision

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.

“We particularly did not want to put restrictions on the artists and are encouraging entrants to paint whatever they like,” he said.

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,” Mr Stephens said.

“We are very much looking forward to what the 2021 competition will bring,” he added.

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.

Entries open on 30 March via the Prize website National Capital Art Prize and close on 1 July. Finalists will be announced on 2 August and displayed in a public exhibition in Canberra from 18 September.

All finalists’ works will be available for sale giving the artists a strong commercial opportunity.

Further details are available at

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