An Art Prize that creates a space for women to thrive

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Andrea Simpson

Entries to the Ravenswood Women’s Art Prize are now open. More than just an art prize, it’s a visual art movement championed by women.
An Art Prize that creates a space for women to thrive

Image:  2017 Professional Artist Prize winner Joan Ross with Principal Anne Johnstone and Ravenswood's Head of Visual Arts, Edwina Palmer. Supplied.

Approximately 70% of art school graduates nationally are female. However, female artists are significantly underrepresented in gallery exhibitions and prize recipients.

‘The numbers just don’t add up for women in the visual arts world,’ said Edwina Palmer, Head of Visual Arts at Ravenswood School for Girls.

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The disparity which Palmer and the Principal of Ravenswood School for Girls, Anne Johnstone observed in the art world inspired them to create a space in which female artists could prosper. Thus, the Ravenswood Women’s Art was conceived.

The prize is designed to promote and connect Australia’s female artists. It consists of two categories; the Professional Artists’ prize valued at $35,000, and an Emerging Artist prize valued at $5,000, making the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize the richest professional art prize for women in Australia.

Enter the 2018 Ravenswood Women’s Art Prize

‘I see it very much as a space for women, and we hope we can do a lot for them. The Art Prize gives women another opportunity to build their careers, and to put the spotlight on women in art,’ said Palmer. 

Established in 2017, the inaugural Art Prize was an extraordinary success with over 780 entrants. Palmer was stunned with the reception the Prize received.

‘We were very pleased. We had representation from every state in Australia. We were also stunned by the standard of work, and the range of artists that applied.’

Entries for the 2018 Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize open on 1 February, with entrants asked to interrogate this year’s theme: Resilience.

‘The theme should be addressed in the work and in the artist’s statement. So we are looking for that specifically,’ Palmer said.

‘The other important thing to remember is that it’s not specifically a painting prize – it’s a multi-disciplinary art prize. So the art form isn’t dominating and steering everything.’

Palmer also encouraged women from diverse or marginalised backgrounds to come forward and tell their stories through art.

‘Women have the most amazing stories. If we could have put them all together we could have published an amazing book,’ she said of last year’s entrants.

The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize is also working towards developing a curriculum with a range of artists each year – creating resources that are free to everyone across Australia.

It is hoped such resources will be accessed for free online. 'So it gets more women artists into the class room and it’s another way for women artist to be supported,’ Palmer said.

The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize:

Professional Artist Prize

This acquisitive prize is open nationally to female Australian citizens and permanent residents over 18 years of age who identify as professional artists. The winner will receive $35,000 in prize money. The recipient will also be awarded the opportunity to hold a one week exhibition at Ravenswood School for Girls – usually held in February of the following year.

Emerging Artist Prize

This acquisitive prize is open nationally to female Australian citizens and permanent residents over 18 years of age who identify as an emerging artist. The winner will receive $5,000 in prize money, and will join the Professional Artist in the February 2019 exhibition.

Entries open on Thursday 1 February 2018 and close at midday on Tuesday 17 April 2018. Learn more about the Ravenswood Women’s Art Prize by visiting www.ravenswoodartprize.com.au

About the author

Andrea Simpson is ArtsHub's Feature Writer and Reviews Editor. Andrea is a Filipino-Australian writer with a love for diverse Australian stories. She is curious about all forms of art, though she has an especially keen interest in the publishing sector.

Andrea has had short stories published in various anthologies, and is currently working on her first novel.  

You can follow Andrea on Instagram @andi_jayyy