The best art competitions for emerging artists

By Katharina Wenzel-Vollenbroich
The best art competitions for emerging artists The best art competitions for emerging artists

By Arron Westbrook

As an emerging artist it can often be difficult to break through to the primary art market. Not only can this be disheartening, it can also restrict how much money you can make from your art.

Whilst money isn’t usually the primary focus for an artist, we all need to be able to live, buy materials, and have the time to create. One of the ways in which you can be rewarded both financially and reputationally is by entering the best art competitions and prizes.

The question is: which ones should you be entering? There are so many to enter, not just in Germany and the UK, but globally. Should you stay close to home or spread your wings?

The truth is, it depends. But ultimately, we would suggest that you should enter the most competitions and prizes as you can. Getting your eyes in front of taste-makers can help to increase your profile -- even if you don’t win.

Even if you just get shortlisted, there’s still some reputational advantage to be had -- though you won’t be rewarded financially of course.

And whilst award entries can often be time-consuming, the rewards and benefits are strong enough for it to be worthwhile. To help you navigate the confusing world of art competitions and prizes, we’ve put together this list of the 3 best ones to enter as a talented emerging artist.


1. Frieze Artist Award

Entry Fee: Free

Award: £20,000

Frieze is one of the best-known names in the art world. From the glossy magazine, to the yearly art fair in London, all emerging artists will have engaged with Frieze at some point in their lives. For many it will be an integral part of their engagement with the contemporary art world.

The Frieze Artist Award may seem like an ambitious choice for an article on the best prizes and awards to enter as an emerging artist then. But this is an award that helps to create careers, rather than celebrate existing ones.

Not only is the Frieze Artist Award free to enter -- which is obviously amazing if you’re on a limited budget -- the reward, a £20,000 production budget to realize a major site-specific work at the Frieze art fair, could be the makings of an emerging artist’s career.

The award is open to all artists aged between 25-40. Proposals will be judged on innovation and achievability. The Frieze Artist Award might not be the easiest to win, but the potential payback is monumental.

To find out more about the Frieze Artist Award, please visit the Frieze website:


2. Future Generation Art Prize

Entry Fee: Free

Award: $100,000

Taking a step away from the UK, the biannual Future Generation Art Prize comes from Ukraine’s PinchukArtCentre. Established by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in 2009, the prize has not only supported the brightest emerging artists since its inception, it has gone on to become one of the most prestigious art prizes in the art world.

As you would imagine from the name, this award sets out to find the best future generation artists. This is exclusively a prize for emerging artists. Winners will be exhibited at the prestigious Venice Biennale. Meanwhile, there are also 5 additional special prizes awarded by the jury -- artists who receive these will take home a slice of a $20,000 kitty to help support art projects.

In terms of medium, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a painter, sculptor, video or conceptual artist. All mediums are welcome to enter. Though there wasn’t a prize for 2017, being biannual, it’s definitely a prize that all talented emerging artists should think about entering for 2019.

To find out more about the Future Generation Art Prize, please visit the website:


3. Luxembourg Art Prize

Entry Fee: €45

Award: €50,000

The Luxembourg Art Prize is a little different to the Frieze and Future Generation, as literally anyone can apply to it. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you’re from, or at what stage in your artist career you’re at. As a competition it values artistic merit above all else.

Artists of all stripes are encouraged to enter. From teenage photographers to painting pensioners, this is a prize that rewards based on talent, ability and ultimate potential. That’s what makes the Luxembourg Art Prize such an amazing competition for emerging artists.

The high level of competition shouldn’t put emerging artists off from entering, however. The prize has always supported emerging artists since its creation by Herve Lancelin, an avid collector and a primary influencer in unearthing the next generation of artistic talent.

A prize of €50,000 should be attractive enough, even if the €45 entry fee may be a little bit steep for some. The winner will also get their own solo exhibition at the prestigious Pinacothèque of Luxembourg, whilst the top 10 finalists will also have a group exhibition in the run up to the overall prize being announced.

Entries for the 2019 prize close midnight April 30 2019, so you’ve still got plenty of time to put together a proposal.

To find out more about the Luxembourg Art Prize, please visit their website:

This year, keep an eye out for another new exciting prize for emerging artists by ARTPIQ! Details to be confirmed, follow us on Instagram for the latest from ARTPIQ.

If you’re an emerging artist who is looking for support and direction in their career, apply to be an ARTPIQ artist today. Not only will we help you sell your current work, in future we will also support you crowdfund big projects. Projects that could not only win you prizes, but could be the making of you as a professional artist. Get in touch today.

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The best art competitions for emerging artists The best art competitions for emerging artists

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