Week 8 at Claremont College

When Should I Enter an Art Prize?

Well, based on the adage, “you’ve gotta be in it to win it”, you could say always, but its worth taking a few things into consideration. There are a number of open art prizes, often associated with a particular city, town or gallery, that don’t have categories. Others are based on particular categories, some are site specific, and some are age specific etc. What is certainly worth doing is checking out the specifics of an art prize, the application process, cost, time-frames etc. and then, even if you don’t enter, check out who were accepted as finalists, who won, who was people’s choice etc. Many art prizes have great websites where you are able to check all this out on previous years. Although judges usually change each year, well established prizes tend to follow particular trends, and develop a particular genre, so its certainly worth checking out as much as you can.

archibald prize

The best advice is to only enter prizes that you are confident and happy to enter artwork that you are already doing or already wanting to do. ie. if you don’t paint portraiture and don’t want to, then its probably not a great idea to enter the Archibald Prize. Don’t just enter a prize because it has big prize money or lots of media attention. There are plenty of prizes around and you will find the ones that suit you the best. That said, art prizes can be a great incentive to get motivated and extend your art practice! There are also a number of prizes that are age specific, or ‘career’ specific, so use the opportunities that are there for you, as you build up your artist profile.


Most art prizes have a selection process, that is, the applications are vetted and a small number of finalists are chosen for the exhibition, from which the winner will be chosen. So, being chosen as a finalist is a really good! For well established and popular prizes like the Archibald Prize, being a finalist can be a career launching move. Winning a prize will of course have its benefits, fame and fortune, but can also bring its fair share of controversy and contention. Art and art appreciation is a very subjective matter, and there will always be someone with a different opinion, so its good to keep a healthy perspective on the fickle nature of art prizes. Of course, if you are not selected at all this is also worth keeping in mind, too!

Week 7 at Claremont College

What grants should I apply for and what are my chances?

There are a number of organisations that provide a variety of grants, the largest of these being the Australia Council (also known as OzCo) and your state or territory equivalent, eg. Arts Tasmania. There are also a number of smaller government organisations and NGO  (Non-Government Organisations), eg. Regional Arts tasmania, and Tasmanian Community Fund, as well as private organisations and businesses, eg. Alcorso Foundation and MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). The larger organisations will tend to offer a range of grants, and smaller organisations may only offer one type of grant.

There are grants for specific art forms, career stages and purposes, so it is worth spending a bit of time researching what it is you want to do, can do and can afford to do. That is, there is no point applying for the Rosamond McCulloch Studio if you are not a UTAS graduate, because it is only open to graduates. Although this residency comes with an Arts Tasmania grant to help cover airfares, service fees and a stipend (living allowance), you would likely still need additional funds, and then you would also have to cover your personal costs of home/work/family etc. being away for four months. Some grants will only cover certain, specific expenses, so you will need to consider alternatives, including other grants. There are a number of grants that cover certain expenses, eg. travel and accommodation.

ozco grants

Even after you have considered all the what, when and how questions, you also need to consider the ‘why’. Why is this grant a going to be great for you, and equally important, why are you going to be great for this grant. The latter is not simply a matter of pandering to the whims and fancies of the selection panel, after all, you would have already decided on this grant because it is suitable. But having the perspective of the organisations, understanding their motivations, and being able to fulfil the grant requirements and acquit them successfully, will not only be satisfying, but put you in good stead for the next grant you apply for. The artworld is a small world, and people will soon recognise you for your professionalism and enthusiasm. There are also a number of OzCo grants that are for specific stages of your career, and it is worth checking out what emerging, early career, mid-career etc. means. This way you can build upon your successes and explore new ideas as your art career continues along its path.

So, what are your chances of getting a grant? Probably better than you think! Although there are thousands of students graduating from art schools around Australia each year, no where near that many people apply for grants. So, if you think a grant might be suitable for you, you should definitely apply. The more often you apply the better you will become at addressing criteria and explaining what it is you are on about. If you are unsuccessful there is often an avenue for you to find out why, and receive some helpful feedback for next time you apply. You may find out you only just missed out, which, although disappointing, will put you in good stead for applying again.

Here is a FAQ from the OzCo website: What are the chances of getting a grant? The Australia Council receives many more applications than it can fund. Success rates vary from around 15 percent in some categories to 35 percent or more in others. You may find it helpful to review the approved grants lists or assessment meeting reports published on our website to gain insight into the types of applications that have previously been successful.

Week 6 at Claremont College

Why should I bother with a website/blog/facebook page etc.?

Well, the simple answer to that would be: they are free! You can pay for someone to design and host a website for you, but it isn’t necessary, and even if you need some help from family or friends, you should be able to set up something for free, e.g. a WordPress blog like this one. There are a number of very good reasons to have an on-line presence, and although you might think the most important one, is that you will be able to reach a greater number of people with your amazing artwork, think again! Yes, people will stumble upon your sites, but ultimately people will only know you are on the net, if you tell them you are, give them a card that says you are, or email/txt/msg them telling them you are. What websites and blogsites are great for is storing your information in the cloud, in an orderly fashion, so that when someone does use the URL you sent them, they will learn lots about what an amazing artist you really are.

situate art app

The other really important reason is that you will inevitably need to. If you apply for a grant or an art prize now, and it may well be on-line, and you may well only be able to add images of your work using a URL. Here is an answer to a FAQ from the SITUATE: Art in Festivals on-line application:

I DON’T HAVE A WEBSITE. DO I STILL NEED TO PROVIDE URL SUPPORT MATERIAL? Yes. If you don’t have your own website there are many free Internet services for uploading material. Some popular sites include YouTube and Vimeo for moving images, Soundcloud for music and sound, Flickr, photobucket and Picasaweb for moving and still images. Please note that we will not be downloading this support material for distribution but rather providing our assessors with links to view this material online. Please make sure your support material is viewable when the URL link is clicked. If your URL requires a password to view the material, please include it with your application.

The OzCo FAQs offer much the same advice:

How do I submit ‘URL-based’ supporting material? Some Australia Council grants and initiatives allow or require you to submit a link to your supporting material which is hosted on an external site. As third-party-hosted content allows you to present your supporting material in high definition, without having an impact on your total application file limit, this method is recommended.

ozco online app

So, it isn’t necessarily all about gaining instant notoriety by posting your artwork on-line, but it is useful, it does make you look professional, and your mum/dad/boyfriend/girlfriend/etc. will think you are even more special! But be prepared, all this effort could well work against you if you don’t keep it all up-to-date. Remember, websites work well as a ‘static’ reservoir of information and images, and won’t need to be updated too frequently. If you choose a platform such as Twitter or Facebook you will need to give more regular attention to updates, and if you want to keep all your fans happy, make sure you respond to comments!


Burnie Print Prize

Susanna Castleden
Building The World in the correct position and the correct shape
hand coloured screen print, 1/1
55 x 55 x 55 cm

The Burnie Print Prize has attracted the notice of some of the nation’s most talented printmakers since its inception since its inauguration in 2007. The major acquisitive prize is $12,000. This is sponsored by the Friends of the Burnie Regional Art Gallery, with a generous donation of $6,000 which matches the Burnie City Council’s equally generous dollar for dollar contribution.

This year’s judges were Olga Sankey, Artist, Senior Lecturer, Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia, Jane Stewart, Principal Curator of Art, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and Michael Edwards, Director CAST (Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania).

The winner of the major acquisitive prize for the Burnie Print Prize 2013 is artist, Susanna Castleden, from Fremantle, WA.

Olga Sankey, Artist and Senior Lecturer, University of South Australia, said, in making the announcement to a packed gallery, “While printmaking is a medium it is also a way of making significant works of art, where form and content complement and enhance one another. This is represented in the winning work and the Judges were unanimous in their decision for the final choice.”

“We selected Susanna Castleden’s hand coloured screen print because it is based on a strong idea which led to the choice of material and the formal presentation. We believe this work enhances the mind and leaves the viewer pondering.” Olga Sankey concluded.




SITUATE: Art in Festivals

SITUATE: Art in Festivals

SITUATE Art in Festivals is presenting an exciting opportunity for Early Career Artists  and creative practitioners to participate in an intensive interdisciplinary residency to push boundaries, take creative risks and develop ideas for artworks that respond to a variety of festival sites and audiences.

SITUATE Arts Lab will take place over 15 days from 21 June – 5 July 2013 at Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart alongside the new Dark MOFO festival. It will also involve an intensive design studio held at the Far South Wilderness Lodge on Tasmania’s south-eastern tip.

Up to 15 Artists from across Australia will participate in the Lab, facilitated by up to 10 leading national and international artists and curators (provocateurs) supported by specialist production staff. The opportunity is open to creative practitioners working in the visual arts, design, architecture, fashion, digital media, installation, community arts, live art, performance and other creative pursuits.

The process is designed to support the development of a wide range of artworks that provide not just a “wow” factor but seek to connect with audiences across diverse festival environments. The emphasis is on innovation, risk taking, artistic integrity and the creation of new ideas.


Benchmarking Birchs Bay Sculpture Prize

Benchmarking Birchs Bay Sculpture Prize

2006 saw the inaugural Benchmarking Birchs Bay sculpture event which runs from Good Friday to the end of June – here at Five Bob we delight in the artist’s work and the opportunity of showcasing their creative flights of fancy to the increasing number of visitors who visit the trail annually.

We see BBB as a vehicle for removing art from its typical internal setting, juxtaposing it with nature, creating an interesting dialogue for the work and viewer.  The pieces are installed on a 1.5 kilometer long trail, that winds its way through farm and forest with spectacular mountain and channel views creating what we believe is a truly unique gallery experience.

To walk around the trail and see this year’s entrants and those that live permanently on the trail could take a whole day, or you might just power walk around in twenty minutes, do that and you will want to come back again before the trail closes at the end of June.  So grab some friends, maybe a picnic and the dog – if it is well behaved and on a leash and make a day of it.


Bay of Fires Art Prize

Bay of Fires Art Prize

The Bay of Fires Art Prize has been developed to enhance artistic and cultural interest of Australians in Tasmania, particularly during the quieter winter months.  The name was chosen because of the close relationship of the home of the Prize, St Helens, to the majestic beauty of the Bay of Fires and its artistic appeal.  
The aims are;

  • To celebrate and promote values of excellence, creativity and inclusiveness in the community
  • To encourage an understanding and appreciation of our Tasmanian environmental, human and spiritual inheritance
  • To provide opportunities for artists to showcase their work
  • To foster and promote partnerships between the Arts and enterprises in the community

The Prize is being supported by the St Helens and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and the Break O’day Council.