$17,500 total prize pool: Footscray Art Prize

The Footscray Art Prize is back to celebrate the artistic vibrancy of the community in 2019. Entries are now open.
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Mumu Mike Williams, winner of the 2017 Footscray Art Prize. Image supplied.

The Footscray Art Prize is back and now calling for entries from local and national artists.

There is no theme to this prize and entries are open across four categories with a total cash prize pool of $17,500. Shortlisted works will be displayed in two major exhibitions in Footscray. 

Now in its second iteration, the inaugural Footscray Art Prize was held in 2017 as a legacy of Victoria University’s centenary, which celebrated 100 years of applied education in Footscray beginning in 1916 with the Footscray Technical School. 

Known as “the door of opportunity”, the Footscray Technical School ‘sought to create the opportunity for working young people to gain skills and trades qualifications alongside a liberal arts experience,’ explained Kerry O’Neill, Associate Director of Engagement Initiatives at Victoria University.

By celebrating these traditions through the Footscray Art Prize, the partners involved — Victoria University, Maribyrnong City Council, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Rotary Club of Footscray — continue to contribute towards Footscray’s reputation as a thriving cultural hub in Melbourne’s inner west.

‘The partners and their range of arts activities has really confirmed that convergence of art’s importance to the community in Footscray, alongside what it means for people to develop technical and trade skills and earn a living,’ said O’Neill.

‘The inaugural prize was remarkably successful. We had over 800 entries from all across Australia, and we were very pleased with that,’ she added.

View call for entries here

The Prize includes a major award of $10,000 open to established and emerging artists, and also a Street Art Prize valued at $5,000. 

‘This year we have a really large wall in the centre of Footscray on Irving Street which is a great canvas for the Street Art Prize,’ said O’Neill. 

‘It is quite a special site and a prominent site. This year we are going to shortlist three proposals and the one that is selected by the judges as the winner will get the right to present their work on the Irving Street site.’

The artists selected for the Street Art Prize will also receive an additional $5,000 to create the work. 

The Tertiary Prize recognises the next generation of Australian artists and invites current university students to enter their work and be in the running for $1,500. This recognition of emerging artists also extends to primary and secondary school aged artists in Melbourne’s west with the Young Artists Prize.

The 2017 Tertiary Art Prize exhibition at VU at MetroWest. Image supplied.
‘Having four award categories creates a breadth of opportunity for practicing and emerging artists at all different levels,’ said O’Neill. 

In 2019 the judging panel includes Katrina Sedgwick, Director and CEO of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI); Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA) curator Hanna Presley, and artist and Head of Painting at Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Raafat Ishak.









Primary $500
Secondary $500

Entries close on 15 March 2019 and are open to all Australian residents, with no restrictions on visual art media. Winners will be announced in June, with a shortlist available in late April. 

To find out more, visit footscrayartprize.com/categories

The Footscray Art Prize is supported by Maribyrnong City Council, Victoria University, Footscray Community Arts Centre, and the Rotary Club of Footscray.

Brooke Boland
About the Author
Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW. She has a PhD in literature from the University of NSW. You can find her on Instagram @southcoastwriter.
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