Major cash boost for national Textiles Award

Thanks to a new sponsor, the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award is now offering $40,000 prize money.
textile artwork by Giillian Bencke

The figure of $40,000 is close to the national average wage of an artist ($48,400 per annum Making Art Work 2017, Australia Council for the Arts). This is why news that the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award has increased its prize money from $10,000 to $40,000 is so welcomed.

Gallery Director, Simone Nolan says: ‘We are thrilled to partner with the Kyamba Foundation to deliver an award that is now well on the way to becoming the equivalent of a one-year living wage for an artist of excellence.

‘The acquisitive prize money has remained at $10,000 since 2013,’ adds Nolan. ‘This
commitment and financial investment from the Kyamba Foundation will help the award to grow and remain relevant to the artists we want to attract within the contemporary textile sector.’

The boost in funding will allow an artist to focus on developing their practice, while also having their work enter a recognised collection of textiles.

Presented since 2009, the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award is a nationally significant biennial award that will celebrate its eighth iteration at the Wangaratta Art Gallery in 2023. The year will see the delivery of two accompanying textile-based projects as the gallery embarks on a vision to have the award sit within a textile festival.

Entries are now open and close at 5pm (AEDT) on 3 March.

Secure future for contemporary textiles

Contemporary textile practice continues to push the perceived parameters of the medium into new territory, growing rapidly as a vibrant voice for current conversations and trends.

It is not surprising then that the Wangaratta-based Kyamba Foundation sees the value in the Award, and is extending its long support of the Gallery and regional development. Wangaratta has a well-established and prominent history of textiles in manufacturing and as a craft form.

The Foundation has committed to fund the Award for 2023 and 2025.

Cynthia Brown from the Kyamba Foundation says: ‘Our support will guarantee that Wangaratta remains known as the textile capital of Australia and that it dominates with a national contemporary textile award of excellence.

‘It was in desperate need of growing its financial support and our foundation is delighted to commit to this partnership.’

Rural City of Wangaratta Mayor, Cr Dean Rees says the $40,000 ‘is a big deal for Wangaratta’, and that the award puts Wangaratta on the map as a home for excellence within the national landscape of contemporary textiles.

Wangaratta Art Gallery Director Simone Nolan, Kyamba Foundation Board Cynthia, June and John Brown, Rural City of Wangaratta Mayor Dean Rees. Image: Supplied.

Key information

The 2023 Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award is now open for entries. It is an acquisitive award that embodies the current state of play for contemporary textile practice in Australia.

Applications close: 3 March 2023 at 5pm AEDT.
Exhibition dates: 10 June – 20 August 2023.

The Wangaratta Art Gallery is housed in a heritage building located in the creative arts precinct of this regional Victorian town, located 230 kilometres north-east of Melbourne.

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina