Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Call for Entries: £25,000 John Moores Painting Prize 2020 + NEW Prize

The John Moores Painting Prize is a PAINTING competition 
  • This week it opened for entries for the 2021 exhibition
  • The deadline for an entry is 24 March 2020
  • It's open to all UK-based artists working with paint. 
  • It culminates in an exhibition next year at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool  (19 September 2020 - 14 February 2021)
The exhibition has consistently helped to raise the profile of the artists and in particular to further the careers of its winners

Its named after the sponsor of the prize, Sir John Moores (1896 – 1993) and was originally intended as a one-off!

It's now a biennial event and this will be the 31st exhibition in 60 years - since its launch in 1957.

You can view the previous winners of the John Moores Painting Prize on the past exhibitions page on the website They include:

Criteria for assessment - and how anonymity is maintained

The original aims of John Moores were:
'To give Merseyside the chance to see an exhibition of painting and sculpture embracing the best and most vital work being done today throughout the country'
'To encourage contemporary artists, particularly the young and progressive'
Now the aim is
Supporting artists from all over the UK – whether they’re undiscovered, emerging or established in their careers – the prize provides a platform for artists to inspire, disrupt and challenge the British painting art scene today.
Hence the competition aims to support artists who paint. There are two important criteria:
  • all entries are judged anonymously
  • to bring to Liverpool the best contemporary painting from across the UK
and after that it's whatever the members of the jury care to place an emphasis on.

In terms of "anonymous entry and judging" this competition is much more thorough than most. During the Stage 1 Review of the digital images the process is completely anonymous
  • all artists are allocated a unique entry number
  • jurors are not given the names of the artists
  • jurors are only provided with information about the title, size and medium of the painting

The Jury

The Jury changes with every exhibition. They are selected and appointed by the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and National Museums Liverpool.
Members have included artists, writers, art critics, broadcasters, curators and musicians.
They are
  • Michelle Williams Gamaker - an artist with moving image and performance. Plus Lecturer on the BA Fine Art programme at Goldsmiths and is Chair of Trustees of the visual arts organisation Pavilion in Leeds.
  • Jennifer Higgie - Editor-at-large of frieze magazine. She has been a judge of the Paul Hamlyn Award and the Turner Prize, as well as a member of the selection panel for the British artist at the Venice Biennale and the advisory boards of Arts Council England, the Contemporary Art Society and the Imperial War Museum Art Commissions Committee. (which is when I start to think about the "usual suspects")
  • Gu Wenda, an artist born in Shanghai. Wenda has lived and worked in both New York and Shanghai since 1988. Celebrated for merging traditional ink painting and experimental installations.
  • Hurvin Anderson, a painter whose work explores spaces occupied by Caribbean immigrants, which function as sites for both social gatherings and economic enterprise. Has exhibited extensively and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2017.
  • Alison Goldfrapp is a British-based artist. Fine art, music and photography have played an equally vital role in her creative expression. Alison was chosen as the first ‘Performer as Curator’ for The Lowry, Salford, for her “remarkable synthesis of music and visual imagery”.
I make that two painters - for a painting competition!
The number of works entered has always been high: consistently over 1,000, frequently over 2,000 and for John Moores 25 (2008), a record 3,322 entries. The jury's task is therefore a large one, with judging taking several days.
I've always wondered whether the composition of the Jury is intrinsically linked to and limited by the number of people with other relevant expertise who can take off a number of days to judge a painting competition!


All paintings included in the exhibition are eligible for a prize. This year there is also a NEW prize.

The jury will select a final shortlist of five paintings and award the prizes.
  • First Prize: a cash prize of £25,000 and a solo display at the Walker Art Gallery.
  • four prizes for the other shortlisted artists of £2,500
  • a NEW £2,500 Emerging Artist Prize plus premium Winsor and Newton art materials of the same value. This is open to:
    • open to recent graduates, who are within two years of graduation, and 
    • students who are currently in their final year of a UK-based arts-related course, degree (eg. BA, MA, PhD) or alternative learning programme.
There is also a Visitors’ Choice prize of £2,018, voted for by visitors to the exhibition at the Walker and awarded towards the end of the exhibition period.

Call for Entries

Who can enter?

Artists who MUST
  • be aged 18 years or over on 24 March 2020
  • living or professionally based in the UK or are UK-based (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. It does not include the Republic of Ireland).
In addition:
  • An artist or collaborative artists may only submit a maximum of one work in total.
  • Artists can use a pseudonym or exhibiting name, but must use the same name throughout the registration and competition process.
  • Any artist found to have entered more than one painting using more than one name will be deemed in breach of the Prize’s conditions of entry and will have all their entries disqualified. 

Eligible to exhibit

You can submit only one entry per artist. Multiple entries under the same or under different names are not allowed.

  • a new or recent work, preferably created since 1 January 2019.
  • wholly or partly executed in any painted medium.
  • overall size must not exceed 3m by 3.75m
  • paintings do not have to be framed
  • BUT they must be designed to hang on or be fixed to a wall.
  • available for purchase from Stage 2 through to the end of the exhibition period.
  • the original work of the artist (or artists if a joint or collaborative work). The competition terms and conditions are very precise as to what they mean
The work that you submit should be of your own origination and you should hold all moral and intellectual property rights in that work. If, however, your work does recognisably reference the work of another artist (for example if your painting is a copy of a photograph or painting by a known individual, or is from a known online or archival source), you must have obtained the necessary copyright permissions and credit lines and paid any fees due. The resolution of any such unresolved issues discovered by the organiser will become the responsibility of the artist, including any fees due.
Work which is ineligible
  • video works 
You can only enter online.

If shortlisted for Stage 2 the painting MUST be
  • the same work as that submitted as an image at Stage 1
  • be available for Stage 2 of the competition and, if selected, for the duration of the exhibition itself.
In terms of dimensions the painting MUST be:
  • When packed for transport, must measure no more than 3m x 3.75m.
  • When unpacked, must project no more than 0.5m from the wall.
  • If made up of more than one piece, such as a diptych or triptych, must be no larger overall than 3m x 3.75m x 0.5m when displayed on a wall.

Entry Fee

  • £30 inclusive of VAT (non-refundable). Payment should be made online by debit/credit card. The entry fee is non-refundable.

Timeline and Deadline for Entries

There are three main stages: Call for Entries, Stage 1 and Stage 2.
Registration and Submission of a digital image of the painting have the same deadline.

Call for Entries - registration and payment

  • This is the portal to the Registration Form for the 2018 Competition
  • Registration and payment of the fee online MUST be completed no later than 12 noon on Monday 13 November 2017
  • You will be sent a link to your email address to complete your entry. You will be able to review your entry before payment and submission.
  • the unique entry number is only allocated to an artist once this stage has been completed

Stage 1 - Submission of Image

The first stage of selection is entirely based on the image submitted.
It is important that the quality of the digital image best reflects the submitted work. The first stage of selection is entirely based on the image submitted.
  • You must submit an image(s) of the work AND complete the online form - using the unique entry number 
    • Your completed entry must be received by 12 noon on Tuesday 24 March 2020 
    • Digital images of the submitted work must be JPEGS between 2MB - 5MB in size and a minimum of 1000 x 1000 pixels. 
    • One image showing the complete painting must be submitted (A). An optional second image, showing a detail of the work, may be submitted (B). 
    • The image(s) of the painting must not be manipulated in any way and must be of the painting entered. Substitutes cannot be accepted and will invalidate the entry.
  • The jury then views and discusses all the entries from the digital image submitted - and shortlists entries 
  • Artists are notified as soon as possible after the Stage 1 selection about whether they have been selected for Stage 2.

Stage 2 - Delivery of shortlisted painting
  • Shortlisted artists are invited to transport their shortlisted painting to one of six depots around the UK
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: the painting must be EXACTLY THE SAME - as the painting submitted via digital image. If it is different it will be disqualified
  • The exhibition organisers arrange the transport of paintings to Liverpool for judging.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: you are advised to arrange insurance
  • Each painting is viewed and discussed individually by the jurors who then select the works for the final exhibition.
    • This process remains anonymous
    • Jurors are not given the names of the artists but have access to the following information: title, size and medium.
    • However, in addition and on request, they have access to the artists’ statements about their work (but not their biographical information).
  • Jurors also decide the prize-winners.
  • all SELECTED paintings are subject to a commercial agreement
  • when you enter, you agree (as part of the Commercial Agreement) that IF YOUR PAINTING IS SELECTED YOU:
    • give the Licensee the right to manufacture and sell merchandise (in such forms as it chooses) representing the artwork within the retail outlets at National Museums Liverpool including its online store - subject to agreement to be faithful to the work. The artist agrees to waive any royalty rights for the duration of the period quoted in the agreement.
    • accept that if shortlisted the submitted artwork must be available for sale for the duration of the exhibition and that the Walker Art Gallery, if it requests to do so, is given first option to purchase that work.
    • accept that if selected for the exhibition any sale of the exhibited artwork during the exhibition period will be exclusively undertaken by the Licensee and must not be reserved for sale or sold by any other means.



The John Moores Painting Prize 2020 Exhibition will be on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool from 19 September 2020 - 14 February 2021

More about the John Moores Painting Prize

The John Moores Painting Prize 2018 Exhibition will be on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool from Saturday 14 July to Sunday 18 November 2018.






  1. Have judges chosen the paintings that will go to 2nd stage

    1. If you'd clicked the first link above and checked out the website you would see that it says very clearly

      "Whilst we are still hoping to open the exhibition on 19 September 2020, we are revising judging, notification and depot dates. We will keep artists updated throughout the process."


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