Finally there's a lucrative art prize with broad creative freedom, allowing Illawarra artists to paint any vision with any medium.
Creatives can now make a submission for the National Capital Art Prize in a bid to share in $45,000 and can paint a portrait, landscape or abstract with pencil, acrylic, mixed media, oil paints or watercolour.
Canberra art identity and Aarwun Gallery owner Bob Stephens is behind the inaugural competition, as a lifeline to artists struggling in the wake of COVID-19.
"Having had many years in the gallery business, I know how many artists are struggling," Mr Stephens said. "It was a way for us as a gallery to give back to the community, on a nationwide level."
In another unique aspect, each artist can enter up to four different paintings in any combination of the four main categories which include Open, First Nations Prize for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists, Landscape and Student.
Mr Stephens said opening up the prize made sure it presented the opportunity to as many artists as possible.
"Prizes of this magnitude increase the awareness of Australian art which has sadly been neglected," he said.
"Some people interested in art and collecting art may be hesitant or not feel comfortable in a gallery, however a public event like the national art prize will attract many people."
The National Capital Art Prize has a combined prize pool of more than $45,000, with several categories. Mr Stephens said sponsors would cover the costs.
"I've committed to underwriting the whole thing but that's not going to be necessary because we've had some really good sponsors come on board, three or four of them, which we can't announce just yet but who we're really excited about," he said.
The National Capital Art Prize comprises a $15,000 open prize, $15,000 First Nations prize for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists, $5000 landscape prize, $2500 student prize, $2500 people's choice award and $5000 art scholarship offered in partnership with the Australian National University.
Applications are open to all Australians over the age of 18, via the website National Capital Art Prize and close on July 1. Finalists will be announced on August 2 and displayed in a public exhibition in Canberra from September 18, the venue soon to be announced. All finalists' works will be available for sale, providing another financial boost to the artists.
For more details visit: www.nationalcapitalartprize.com.au