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Exhibitions and awards: opportunities for artists to express themselves and earn money

In this article, Arthive has collected a number of exhibitions, contests and art awards that may help both beginners and experienced artists to advertise themselves and even get a lot of money. Disclaimer: The source of the information provided here is the official websites of the organizers. Please read the terms and conditions carefully when submitting applications.
Before you apply for a festival or competition, make sure you have a comprehensive portfolio. It is best to submit your work on a personal website. It will not take long to create it, and you will have an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your work to judges and jury.

At the beginning of this article, there is a list of exhibitions and festivals, applications for which could be applied back in 2019. They are followed by a list of regularly held contests, in which artists from all over the world can participate — painters, sculptors, 2D and 3D illustrators, photographers, graphic artists, and so on.


Zukunftsvisionen — a contemporary art festival

The Zukunftsvisionen (ZuVi) festival has been held since 2007 in the town of Görlitz on the Polish-German border. This year the festival theme is Threadless. By this word, organizers mean the discourse about coincidences, deliberate decisions and random events that determine our destiny and future.
Source: Zukunftsvisionen Facebook Page
Who: artists from all over the world, both recognized and newcomers.

When: 24 May — 1 June 2019

Deadline: 19 March 2019

Note: Artists can submit their work in categories such as painting, drawing, graphics, photography, sculpture, street art, installation, media, and action painting.

See details here.

“__________ Dreams” Exhibition

The artlessBastard art gallery in De Pere, Wisconsin, USA invites 2D and 3D artists to exhibit their work. "Some dreams are rosy, some are disturbing. Some are crystal clear, some are difficult to interpret until you dive deep into the work. Regardless of whether you have Blueberry Dreams amazing still life or Abandoned Dreams dark conceptual abstraction, they still can’t wait to be seen!" write the organizers.
artlessBastard Gallery. Source:
Who: artists from all over the world.

When: May — June 2019

Deadline: 24 March 2019

Note: Works may range from traditional to contemporary, but the title must include something followed by the word Dreams.

See details here.

9th Annual Figurative Art Online Competition

The Light Space & Time online art gallery invites all 2D and 3D artists (including photographs and digital artists) to apply online to be included in the gallery’s group art exhibition in April 2019.

Who: artists from all over the world.

When: April 2019

Deadline: 27 March 2019

Note: The figurative theme is an artistic interpretation and description of human forms and traits. Figurative images are figures, shapes and faces. The gallery accepts both realistic and abstract works on this theme.

See details here.

International Art Exhibition of New Technologies NTAA’19

Over the past few years, the Zebrastraat in Ghent, Belgium, has become a knowledge hub with a strong interest in art. Every two years, there is a forum held called update_ and a New Technological Art Award (NTAA) competition. Their mission is to fill a gap in mainstream art by drawing attention to the technological developments that drive our global culture.

Who: artists of all ages and nationalities.

When: 2—24 November 2019

Deadline: 31 March 2019

Notes: the working language is English; artists are not charged; free housing is available on Zebrastraat for participants.

See details here.
The Zebrastraat in Ghent. Source:

London Art Biennale 2019

London Art Biennale 2019 continues to accept applications from artists. In previous years, about 120 artists from 50 countries took part in the forum, which was held in the Old Town Hall of Chelsea. The event attracts thousands of visitors every time.

Who: painters, graphic artists, sculptors and digital artists from around the world.

When: 22—26 May 2019

Deadline: 31 March 2019

Note: The first 50 accepted artists also participate in a group exhibition organized by the Gagliardi Gallery at the end of the year. This art space has been selling artworks on King’s Road in the heart of London for forty years.

See details here.

Palm Springs Mural Fest 2019

The Palm Springs Mural Fest, California, USA, accepts proposals from individual monumental artists or teams to create large-scale murals throughout the city. "We decided to start the PS Mural Fest inaugural year with the Words Matter theme. Words are powerful. They have the ability to inspire, motivate and persuade or discourage, reject and dissuade," the organizers write. They selected 14 of the most inspiring concepts that express what it means to be human. Artists are asked to submit proposals for both temporary and permanent displays.
Who: artists from all over the world.

When: the selected works will be on display from six months to a year, depending on the location.

Deadline: 31 March 2019

Note: Payment is provided for all selected artists, including those who paint live at the festival. Rewards are set based on standard festival rates, artists' experience, portfolio, wall size, work duration, relocation need, accommodation, and other factors.

See details here.


BP Portrait Award

Prize: First Prize is £ 35,000; the total prize fund is £ 74,000.

Entry fee: no.

Who: artists 18+ from all over the world.

What you need to know: The BP Portrait Award has been awarded by the London National Gallery for forty years and has been sponsored for the past 30 years by the multinational BP oil and gas company. It is the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world, intended to encourage artists from all over the globe. Entries must be predominantly painted in oil, tempera or acrylic on canvas or panel. The requirements are strict: the jury does not consider pastels, watercolours or works on paper. Artists can only submit one application.

See details here.
Miriam Eskofet. An Angel at my Table
Miriam Escofet, Angel at My Table — the BP Portrait Award Winner 2018

NordArt International Exhibition of Visual Arts

Prize: 10 thousand euro.

Entry fee: no.

Who: artists from all over the world.

What you need to know: The goal of the NordArt Forum is cultural education and exchange, strengthening mutual understanding through the art language. Artworks selected for the art competition are to be shown at one of the largest contemporary art exhibitions in Europe. The jury selects one prize-winner who receives 10 thousand euros. There will also be three Audience Prizes € 1,000 each. The exhibition takes place in Büdelsdorf, Germany.

See details here.

Future Generation Art Prize

Prize: main prize is 60,000 US dollars plus 40,000 dollars of investment in the creation of new works by the winner; in addition, at the discretion of the jury, up to 20,000 dollars are awarded.

Entry fee: no.

Who: artists from all over the world aged 18 to 35.

What you need to know: the competition is held every two years; all artists can fill an online application form without any restrictions regarding gender, nationality, race, or the media they work with. The selection committee considers applications and selects up to twenty artists to participate in the nominees' exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre in Kyiv. The art competition was created by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to empowering young people to change the world.

See details here.
Installation of 2017 Future Generation Art Prize winner, Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa) at the exhibition during the Venice Biennale. Photo:

Kandinsky Prize

Prize: 1.8 million roubles for the Project of the Year, 450 thousand in the Young Artist nomination, and a number of additional awards.

Entry fee: no.

Who: any Russian artist who fills an application on his own.

What you need to know: The Kandinsky Prize awards the largest material art prize in Russia. Artworks created no earlier than 24 months before the application deadline are allowed to participate in the competition. The number of works by one author nominated for the award by each of the nominations is not limited.

See details here.

Art Competition for Students / Progressive Young Artists Award

Prize: three $ 1,000 scholarships.

Entry fee: 5 USD.

Who: high school and college students around the world.

What you need to know: This student art competition aims to promote the values of the day. Applicants are encouraged to develop topics such as gender equality, sustainable development, and LGBT rights. Works in five categories are accepted for the competition: painting, graphics, photography, mixed media and sculpture.

See details here.

Frieze Award

Prize: 30,000 dollars to create a project.

Entry fee: no.

Who: the applicants must have a degree in an art-related subject or at least three years of professional experience as an artist.

What you need to know: The Frieze Artist Award is a great opportunity to present ambitious work for a specific location. Artists are invited to create a new piece for the annual Frieze art fair as part of the famous Frieze Projects section. The cash prize is awarded to the selected artist for the implementation of the idea.

See details here.
2018 Frieze Artist Award winner Alex Baczynski-Jenkins presented a performance installation. Photo: Mark Blower/Frieze

Chelsea International Fine Art Competition

Prize: total prize fund is 70 thousand dollars.

Entry fee: 45 dollars.

Who: visual artists from all over the world at any stage of their careers.

What you need to know: The Chelsea International Fine Art Competition is hosted by New York’s Agora Gallery. Artists can submit paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, mixed media and prints.

See details here.


Prize: two main prizes of 200 thousand dollars each, another 100 thousand are distributed among other laureates.

Entry fee: $ 50 for individuals and $ 100 for groups.

Who: artists 18+ from all over the world, working in any technique.

What you need to know: This is the largest art competition in the world. Despite the fact that ArtPrize offers artists huge sums of money, it is criticized far more than any other art competition in the world. Some critics argue that the festival does not feature outstanding artworks, and it only brings undeserved fame to the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it is held. Supporters, however, see ArtPrize as a cultural phenomenon that removes the age-old touch of elitism from the art world.

See details here.
The ArtPrize Festival on the streets of Grand Rapids in October 2013. Source:

The Sunny Art Prize

Prize: £ 1,000 to £ 3,000, plus a month’s stay in an art residence in China and a solo exhibition in London for the winner.

Entry fee: £ 25 per one piece, up to £ 45 per four.

Who: artists 18+ from all over the world.

What you need to know: The prize organizers are proud of helping broaden the horizons of artists and artistic communities. They give craftsmen the opportunity to showcase their work at an exhibition in London and develop skills while living in China. The competition is open to painters, sculptors, photographers, ceramists, printers, artists, installation authors working in mixed media, video art and graphics.

See details here.
Untitled by Russian artist Alexei Lazykin from the Sunny Art Centre funds

Nomura Art Award

The "youngest" and largest in the world cash prize for the encouragement and development of creativity in contemporary art, its size amounts to 1 million US dollars. The award establishment was announced by the Japanese Nomura Holdings financial group in March 2019. The company has decided to give an annual award to the artist who has created a work of great cultural significance to help him meet new challenges and seize new opportunities. The prize can be used in whole or in part to finance a new ambitious project, for the implementation of which the laureate previously did not have the funds.

Nomura will also award US $ 100,000 in annual Rising Star Awards. The prize will be awarded to two outstanding artists early in their careers.

The winners are selected by an independent international jury of some of the world’s most respected museum directors and curators, fund managers and art experts. Applications for these awards will not be accepted and all decisions of the jury are considered final.

See details here.