Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Major Art Competitions in the UK 2012

This is my annual post listing all the Major Art Competitions in the UK in 2012. It includes an overview of what each competition is about plus key dates - including the deadline for entry where known.

This is a very long post - so best to get a hot drink, a comfy chair and a pen and paper before you start reading!

ING Discerning Eye - Private View (for the Artists)
Updates in 2012

I will also be updating information - as information becomes available - to include:
  • Call for Entries
  • Announcement of selected artists 
  • Shortlists for Prizes
  • Exhibition reviews 
More information and updates of links to official websites are provided in the TWO sites detailed below - these will both be constantly updated during 2012 so choose your bookmark!
  1. Major UK Art Competitions 2012 - this is a static page at the top of this blog (click the link just under the title of this blog to access this page) 
  2. My website Art Competitions in the UK  This also includes general and specific tips relating to entering art competitions:
If you want to be kept informed about updates:
  • you can subscribe to this blog (see right hand column).  Note that a subscription means you will either get an email or notification in your feed reader about every post I publish - and they're not all about art competitions, although you may well find them interesting!  
  • Alternatively bookmark one of the two sites listed above.  
  • Or do both!
Please note that this post EXCLUDES:
  • art competitions based in the UK which have a first prize of less than £10,000 (unless they are the major award for that type of art eg Jerwood Drawing Prize)
  • the major open exhibitions by national art societies which I covered in Key Dates for UK National Art Society Exhibitions in 2012 (first published 28 October 2011)
Exhibitions in London in 2012

Bear in mind that in 2012, London is going to have huge numbers of additional visitors from both the UK and other countries during the summer months because of the Olympics.  Exhibitions may well get even busier than usual - and if your work is selected it will be seen by even more people than usual!

Now for the listing......

Major Art Competitions in the UK in 2012

The Turner Prize 2012

This is a competition but it's not an Open Competition so nothing to do! Nominations are invited.  The exhibition was held outside London for the first time in 2011.

John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize 2012
The John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize is the UK's best-known contemporary painting competition with a first prize of £25,000. It's a biennial event with the next prize being held in 2012.
Making A Mark post: John Moore Painting Prize 2012: Call For Entries

John Moores Prize 2012 - Key dates:
  • Registration: Deadline Friday 20 January 2012
  • Stage1: Deadline 3 February 2012
  • Stage 2: Deadline 27 April 2012
  • Exhibition at Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool:  15 September 2012 until 6 January 2013

BP Portrait 2011:
one of last year's selected works
BP Portrait Award 2012
Last year 2,372 artists submitted their work and the exhibition, which featured fifty-five paintings, was seen by over 341,000 people at the National Portrait Gallery.
The BP Portrait Award 2012 is the leading portrait award is a major international open competition - with a first prize of £25,000 and an exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery.  It attracts submissions from all over the world.
Making A Mark postCall for Entries: BP Portrait Award 2012 11 Dec 2011

BP Portrait Award 2012 - Summary of Call for Entries (highlights):
  • website: http://www.npg.org.uk/index.php?id=9112
  • Prize: first prize of £25,000, various smaller prizes
  • Exhibition: National Portrait Gallery June to September 2012 followed by national tour (2 venues)
  • Registration / submission
    • online entry form / the rules of entry - see call for entries
    • deadline for registration: 13 February 2012
    • artwork receiving days: March 2012 - see call for entries for details
  • Links to Past exhibitions can be found on Portraiture - Resources for Artists
The work entered should be a painting based on a sitting or study from life and the human figure must predominate.
Important note: You need to have met the sitter - the entry form includes a box which requires you to tick to say you have met the sitter.  As I indicated last year given that the hyper-realistic "photographic" portrait has been rampant in the past few years it's very probable that the Award is trying to emphasise its basic presumption that this a competition for "proper" portrait artists ie people who can work from life for at least part of the painting.  In other words, in my personal opinion, this is code meaning "do not embarrass us and reveal that you are totally incapable of undertaking a commission and working from life if you win".

In the future I will publish on this blog:

The Royal Academy of Art - Summer Exhibition 2012
This is the largest annual exhibition in the UK which lasts several weeks during the summer at the Royal Academy of Art.  Any artist may enter work for selection - over 12,000 works are submitted for consideration every year and around 1200 are exhibited. Information about next year’s exhibition will be available from early January.
Making A Mark post: to be published next week when online form becomes available

RA Summer Exhibition 2012 - Summary of Call for Entries (highlights)

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012
This year (2011) the competition attracted over 6,000 submissions from 2,506 photographers ranging from gifted amateurs and talented young students to established professionals.
Website (2011): http://www.npg.org.uk:8080/photoprize/site11/index.php

Making A Mark Review: Review: Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 10 Nov 2011  I thought it was excellent

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012 Summary of Call for Entries (highlights)

The JOLOMO Bank of Scotland Award For Scottish Landscape Painting 2013

The Jolomo Awards for Scottish Landscape Painting are made every two years. See my post over on The Art of the Landscape -Scottish Landscape Painting and a £25,000 prize.

The Jolomo Awards for Scottish Landscape Painting 2013 - Summary of Call for Entries (highlights)
  • Subject to final confirmation, the next Awards will be launched in September of 2012 and prizes awarded in June 2013. 
  • As such, the first call for entries will be in September 2012.  I'll be publishing a post once plans have been finalised.

Winner of the Threadneedle Prize 2011
The Threadneedle Prize for Painting and Sculpture 2012
The Threadneedle Prize is the UK's leading showcase for paintings and sculptures that promote the practice of representational art, but challenge its language and assumptions.
This is Major Prize for contemporary figurative and representational art can be entered by artists living and/or working in the UK.  This prize lost its original USP in 2010 when the major prize was awarded by the selectors rather than via a public vote.  However in 2011, for the first time the public visiting the exhibition determined who won the Visitors Choice Award valued at £10,000 - and could choose from any of the works which were selected for the final exhibition.  Pre-selection by digital image was also introduced and will continue in 2012.

Making A Mark post re formal Call For Entries: will be posted c. March 2012 when registration opens

Threadneedle Prize for Painting and Sculpture 2012 - Summary of Call for Entries (highlights)

Winner of the Lynn Painter Stainer Prize 2010
Lynn Painter Stainers Prize 2012
Now in its seventh year of competition, the purpose of the Lynn Painter Stainers Prize is to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship. This annual exhibition (which missed a year in 2011) is open to all UK artists who create representational artwork
Making A Mark post:  Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012: Call For Entries 15 Nov 2011

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 - Summary of Call for Entries (highlights)

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2012

Sunday Times Prizewinners 2011
photo by Katherine Tyrrell
website: http://www.parkerharris.co.uk/artists/awards/index.php?ArticleID=218
Prize: First Prize of £10,000, a Second Prize of £6,000 and the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize of £1,500
Exhibition: Mall Galleries, The Mall London
Eligible Artists:
Registration / submission: to be announced

winner of the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year 2011
Wildlife Artist of the Year
There are two art competitions in the UK for the Wildlife Artist of the Year. These are:
Making A Mark post Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012 - Call for Entries (x2) 16 Dec 2011

David Shepherd’s Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012
BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012
ING Discerning Eye
The ING Discerning Eye aims to produce a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artist, two collectors and two critics. Work is selected from open submission and with works by artists invited by the individual selectors. 
ING Discerning Eye 2011
Making A Mark - Call for Entries: post to be written when Call for Entries is published

Jerwood Drawing Prize

The Jerwood Drawing Prize (£6,000) is the country’s leading award in drawing, and is the largest and longest running annual open exhibition dedicated to drawing in the UK. , the Prize aims to recognise and support both established and emerging artists. Each year between 60 and 70 artists are selected for the exhibition

Making A Mark post:  post about Call for Entries to be published when announced
  • website: http://jerwoodcharitablefoundation.org/page/jerwood-drawing-prize
  • Prize: first prize of £6,000, a second prize of £3,000 and two student awards of £1,000 each
  • Exhibition:  usually Jerwood Space
  • Eligible Artists: Open to artists resident or domiciled within the UK
  • Registration / submission: 
    • http://www.parkerharris.co.uk/artists/awards/index.php?ArticleID=277
    • Registration opens on the Jerwood Visual Arts - Artists Opportunities website on to be announced (In 2011 - opened 1 April 2011; closed 7 June 2011)
    • submission: Registered artists are invited to submit work through one of the regional collection centres: London, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Liverpool and Norwich

That's it for now.

If you have any queries please leave a comment.  If I don't know the answer, very often there are other readers who do - or I can tell you how to find out.


  1. excellent - and a lot of hard work!

  2. Gosh, lots to choose from but all a bit advanced for me. One of my BIG goals this year is to put a piece in for at least one exhibition. Never done it before so scared stiff!!


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