To help to give direction and a personal goal to aim for, we have listed below artistic competitions and call-outs for 2021, beginning with January deadlines, which we will update throughout the year.


Take Action Through Art “Reimagine the future through our creative competition” Art has a vital role to play in both imagining and building a better future. We’ve launched a competition for artists in the UK to take inspiration from the David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet film!If you’re in the UK, take part in our competition and you could have your work shown in exhibition alongside other creatives – helping audiences to imagine a better world and commit to putting nature at the heart of our decisions.Use your artistic discipline to visualise how we can best live in harmony with our planet and what our rebuilt future could look like. Entries will close at 5pm on Monday, 25 January 2021. 

Royal Society Of Portrait Painters Award Annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in Central London will bring together over 200 portraits competing for a share of the £23,000 prize fund, with a number of works selling or commissions that will be placed.The Society welcomes paintings, drawings and original prints from artists over 18, from the UK and internationally to be shown alongside members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters at their Annual Exhibition.The deadline for submissions via this online portal is 25 January 2021, 12 noon.

Young Artists Summer Show is a free, open submission exhibition for students aged 5 - 19 studying in the UK and British schools overseas. Artworks are judged by artists and arts professionals with selected artworks displayed online and on-site at the Royal Academy of Arts.

AOI World Illustration awards 2021 Delivered by the AOI in partnership with USA-based Directory of Illustration, the Awards build on a 45-year tradition of the AOI organising juried survey competitions.This high-profile competition is judged by distinguished professionals from the global illustration industry.Commissioners value the Awards for identifying current trends and finding undiscovered talent, and illustrators value the connection and sense of community participating can bring.Illustrators, commissioners, agents and tutors are invited to submit work created, commissioned or published since January 2020, until the deadline into the ten categories of the Awards. The ten categories include: ‘Illustration sells…..’, ‘Book Covers’ and ‘Science and Technology’Entries need to be made via the online application form. Deadline for entries is 15th February 2021.

The John Byrne award The John Byrne Award is a free, online competition, exhibition, and community.The John Byrne Award champions creativity and curiosity. They accept any creative work all year round, to anyone living or studying in Scotland,over 16 years old. They reward annual and quarterly prizes to the most reasoned, constructive, and compelling entries. The entries are then exhibited within The John Byrne Award online gallery. The quarterly prizes of £500 are awarded in May, August and November to the single best entry received in the previous quarter. 

King House Gallery Has a new competition edition, themed “Seasons” The competition gives artists across the world the opportunity to participate in a unique virtual exhibition and join an exhibition in United Kingdom in 2021, cash prizes, as well as getting participation certificates to strengthen their art credentials."Seasons" invites all artists to share their feelings using any visual art medium, towards one or more seasons of the year. The Global winner will receive £500 and will feature a full blog article, within the galleries website plus 150 semi finalists will feature in an online exhibition.

The Biscuit Factory The Contemporary Young Artist Award is for artists 35 years old or younger working in the UK.With the chance to win £2000 and exhibit work at The Biscuit Factory.Successful entrants receive exposure and raise awareness of mixed contemporary art practices. The competition welcomes submissions including paintings, photography, original handmade prints, sculpture, glass, ceramics, textiles. Alongside the CYA award, there will also be a People’s Choice winner, as voted for by the public, who will receive a £500 prize. Deadline to be announced……..

The John Moores Painting Prize    This prize brings together the best in contemporary British painting. Supporting artists whether undiscovered, emerging or established, from all over the UK.       All entries are judged anonymously over a two-stage selection process by our panel of judges. The final exhibition is held at the Walker Art Gallery : First Prize: £25,000 , Emerging Artist Prize: £2,500 (plus £2,500 worth of Winsor & Newton art materials) Further Prizes: £2,500 (4 x £2,500 prizes) Visitors Choice Prize: £2,020 , Deadline currently TBA……..                                                                                                                                                             The John Ruskin Prize is the fastest growing multi-disciplinary art prize in the UK, organised by The Big Draw (charity) Based on the beliefs of John Ruskin, the #RuskinPrize supports and promotes artists, designers and makers whose work defies easy categorisation.



Art Institutions have started to release their deadlines and some organisations have formed to provide relief funds for artists. "Grants remain steady as a way for artists to supplement their income to ease the financial burden that often comes as part of being a working artist—especially over the last year. These grants listed help artists pay for materials, studio space, or even their rent, allowing artists to sustain themselves and their art practices during this difficult time."Artwork Archive have put together a list of opportunities for artists.The list is broken down into six categories: grants, residencies & fellowships, calls-for-entry, publications, COVID relief funds, and opportunity sites.They also have their own grant available:Artwork Archive Art Business Accelerator Grant, have formed in  response to the needs of artists affected by COVID 19.   https://www.artworkarchive.com/

ART HUB has been one of the arts industry’s leading online portal, providing the latest industry news and jobs to its subscribers, publishing essential jobs and information for professionals working in the British arts industry. They have a dedicated section giving a comprehensive list of Arts & Culture opportunities, definately worth a look.

An Open Call for five bursaries, supporting artists based in the North East of England (County Durham, Northumberland, Teesside or Tyne and Wear) has been announced (March 2021)
These bursaries will support artists working at home or in the studio with an £1,000 award. BALTIC invites applications from artists who wish to explore new areas of research, or new ways of making and sustaining their practice.
⏰ Deadline for submissions: Friday 26 March 2021, 23.59
Find out more & apply: http://bit.ly/bbursaries
This is  a service for visual artists, run by artists. They are bringing you the best UK and international arts opportunities, residencies, open calls, commissions, bursaries, arts funding and arts jobs. They also list exhibitions, artist talks, workshops and open studios.

The Society of Wildlife Artists seeks submissions of works that depict wildlife subjects and evoke the spirit of the natural world with many prizes and awards available to win. Deadline 20th August

Robert Walters Group UK New Artist Award 2021.In collaboration with Saatchi Gallery, the Robert Walters Group UK New Artist of the Year Award. The award helps to discover and champion the work of exceptional young artists whose work and vision represent contemporary Britain. Deadline 31st August

 The ING Discerning EyThe ING Discerning Eye is an educational charity, established in the UK in 1990, to encourage a wider understanding and appreciation of the visual arts and to stimulate debate about the place and purpose of art in our societyis calling for entries for a brand-new edition in 2021. The show gives artists the opportunity to showcase their work at the Mall Galleries in London and in a unique virtual exhibition, with the chance to win a range of prizes, including the ING Purchase Prize, worth £5,000. Online submission is open until 7th September.

Japan Media Arts Festival The Japan Media Arts Festival is a festival of Media Artsthat honours works from a diverse range of media – from animation and comics to media art and games. The festival gives awards in each of its four divisions: Art, Entertainment, Animation, and Manga. Deadline 3rd September.


catherine peters
catherine peters

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