Wells Art Contemporary Awards 2023

Wells Art Contemporary Awards 2023

Wells Art Contemporary (WAC) is an international art competition giving artists the opportunity to exhibit their work in Wells Cathedral and receive a wide range of prizes.

Now in its 13th year, WAC’s next exhibition will take place in August 2023. This annual showcase is a highlight of Wells cultural life and attracts thousands of visitors each summer. Selected artists’ works will be seen by a significant and attentive audience. Submissions can be in any medium or style.

The competition draws artists from around the world, wishing to show in such an inspirational, prestigious and unusual space. Its international reach and reputation has grown significantly in recent years through the exhibition’s online platform and WAC’s ongoing association with eminent artists. An Antony Gormley sculpture is currently installed in niche 338 on the Cathedral’s West front.

WAC provides two ways for artists to exhibit and sell work: the Gallery show, where artworks are shown in a temporary white-wall gallery within the Cathedral cloisters; and the Installation Show which showcases site-specific installations in the main body of the Cathedral and its grounds.  Both shows run concurrently. 

All artists based in the UK or internationally, who are over the age of 18 on the 1st January 2023 are invited to apply. Entry is by online submission via this website.

All entrants are asked to ensure they have read the Rules and Guidelines before entering.

The entry fee is £17.50 per work, or £10 per work for current fine art students aged under 26 who are enrolled on a recognised Bachelor or Masters Fine Arts course. 

The Gallery is a unique showing space installed along three sides of the Cathedrals Cloisters where a well-lit, white-wall gallery is built to display work. It forms part of the main visitor route round the Cathedral and can be very busy, especially in summer. Artwork in any medium will be considered for exhibition here, including 3D and video.

Artists should note the following when entering the Gallery Show:

  • Maximum dimensions for an individual work are 3.5m wide x 2.5m high x 2m deep
  • Video artists must supply their own display equipment
  • Artists may enter up to four works
  • You must supply an image of your work (no more than 1MB) plus its title, medium, dimensions and price (provide edition sizes if copies or prints of the artwork are available). Note WAC’s commission of 40% on sales.

Works in the Gallery show are chosen by a panel of established and well-known artist selectors and installed by our experienced team. They will also appear in WAC’s Virtual Exhibition and online shop. The decision of WAC is final with regards to the selection and placing of any artwork.

Artists should note that there will be an additional exhibition showing the prizewinning works from Wells Art Contemporary 2023 at GBS Fine Art in Wells immediately after the Cathedral show closes. Further details of this will be announced shortly. 

The Gallery Show entry deadline is 10 May 2023, 5pm.

Prizes will be awarded to artists in either the Gallery or Installation show, according to the decision of the judges

  • Howden Art Award:  £2,000 awarded to one artist
  • NG Art Creative Residency*:  The NG Art Creative Residency Prize aims to discover and celebrate emerging and established creative talents from a variety of disciplines. The Prize Winner will receive a free two-week placement at the NG Art Creative Residency in Provence. This includes board and lodging, studio space, mentorship and residency-related outings.
  • JGM Gallery Prize*: The winner of the JGM Gallery Prize will be featured on the gallery’s own website and social media channels. A selection of the winner’s works will be on display and for sale on the gallery website and promoted across their social media – including an artist interview to be posted on their Youtube channel.
  • Student Prize:  £1,000 awarded to a current fine art student aged under 26 enrolled on a recognised Bachelor or Masters Fine Arts course. Generously donated by Tracey Grace.
  • Parker Harris Mentoring Prize*:  Parker Harris will give a one-to-one mentoring session covering all aspects of professional development to a selected artist.
  • Somerset Art Works Mentoring Prize: one-to-one mentoring session covering all aspects of professional development to a selected artist.
  • St Cuthberts Mill Award: 20 sheets of Saunders Waterford 300gsm worth over £120 will be awarded to an artist who works on paper.
  • People’s Choice Prize: £500 will be awarded to the artwork which received the most public votes.

Deadline: 10 May 2023

website: Wells Art Contemporary (artopps.co.uk)

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