The Art Prize for Women that Keeps Giving


When the Ravenswood Australian Female Art Prize held its inaugural edition in 2017, 789 entries competed for the top prize of $35,000. In 2022, despite the difficulties in maintaining a creative career following the pandemic, 1,540 artists registered, almost double the number for the Archibald Prize.

Kim Williams, director of the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, said the exponential growth confirmed that “there is a need for the art prize to raise the profile of women artists”.

In addition to the numbers, the reputation of the award has also grown nationally, tapping into what some might describe as a movement addressing the gender imbalance in the visual arts sector. Today, it is considered the highest professional artist award for women in Australia.

“We have also seen an increase in the number of entries from professional artists, indicative of the acceptance of the award and its reputation,” Williams said. ArtsHub. “We really think it has done a lot to raise the profile of female artists in Australia.”

The Annual Acquisition Award is once again calling for nominations.

There are three categories of awards: the Professional Artist Award of $35,000, the Emerging Artist Award of $5,000 and the Emerging Indigenous Artist Award of $5,000. There is also a People’s Choice Award of $2,000 and a Derivan Award of $500.

Williams says the biggest challenge women artists still face in their practice today — even more so than studio time management — is gender disparity and recognition.

“The fact that there’s still male dominance, and that recognition is tilted in their favor, remains a challenge, and that’s why this award is there – to shout out that female artists are great.”

She continues, “I think those challenges are easing, and the movement to give women artists greater visibility is one that we have witnessed across the world, right down to our local neighborhoods, and the tipping effect that an opportunity like the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize can offer becomes very real in strengthening a career path.

Williams says one of the added benefits of the award is that the event is both face-to-face and virtually (an interactive virtual gallery tour of the finalists’ exhibition, an online digital platform, and an evening of presentations). live opening where winners are announced), opening up the accessibility of the Award to communities across Australia.

Ravenswood School for Girls. Picture: Provided.

The Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize is not limited by theme or medium. Rather, artists are encouraged to select a work that best represents their practice.

If you’re hesitant to enter, Williams advises, “Many artists who once entered as emerging artists have gone on to become professional artists and have cited the award as a bumper to get them through.

“It’s also one of the reasons why we’ve made it as open as possible to emerging, theme-free artists, so that their submissions best reflect their practice.” Williams recalls comments from past finalists who called the award “life-changing.”

She continues with advice on selecting a work to present: “First of all, the work must have been created within the last two years. Choose a work of art that inspires you – that strikes a chord and has meaning in your heart. If you create something with passion, it continues in the work.

Key dates

  • Applications close on 15 February 2023 at 12 noon (Australian Eastern Summer Time).
  • Winners will be announced on opening night on May 12, 2023.
  • The finalists’ exhibition will be presented from May 13 to 28, 2023, in Sydney.
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