2020 Applications Now Open

Welcome to the VAO Art Prize

The Visual Art Open competition is a not-for-profit event open to both amateur and professional artists based in the UK and internationally. The aim is to give artists the ultimate platform to develop their passion and career in the arts sector. Finalists will benefit from exhibiting, selling and showcasing their work to art critics and buyers alike.

New and final phase opened due to an increased prize fund and opportunity to submit work due to COVID-19 as part of the global ‘CreateArt4Hope’ Campaign


  • £8,000 Prize Fund

  • International Online Global Art Exhibition of Finalists

  • Free Career Development Talks

  • 20% Discount with Cass Art

  • All Mediums

  • Open to All

  • Closes 20 June 2020

Why Apply to the VAO20 Art Prize?


1. As all artists know, art competitions are a really great way to announce your presence into the art world. Applying to the VAO gives you the chance to showcase yourself and make connections with art enthusiasts, critics and purchasers alike.


2. The VAO offers a fun, constructive and professional environment in which to learn, to be inspired by other artists and build your own skills and self-confidence.


3. As each round of judging passes, your work will be promoted across our social media and website as well as the opportunity to be featured in regional and national press, opening your work to a greater audience.


4. You will have the chance to win not only a cash prize of £1000, but also a commercial mentoring package to further develop your work and career as an artist and a spot at next year’s Chester Arts Fair.


5. As a finalist your work will be included in our VAO brochures, a physical memento of the Chester Arts fair that every visitor will leave with.

Key Dates VAO20

25 September 2019 - Applications Open

10 December 2019 - Phase One Applications Close

29th February 2020 - Phase Two Applications Close


1st April – Phase Three Applications open – Create Art 4 Hope


20th June – Phase Three Applications close


31st July 2020 - Stage One Results Announced


31st August - Stage Two Judging Selection


7th September  - Finalist Email Announcement


November 2020 - Exhibition of all 30 shortlisted works from the VAO at Chester Arts Fair 2020, winners announced


November 2020 - VAO200 Overall Winner Exhibition at Chester Arts Fair 2021 


Due to our current situation with COVID-19 key dates will have to be postponed and moved to a later date in line with Government advice. To all the Artists who have contacted us and wish to submit their work because they missed the deadline, we have Great News for you. We have decided the best thing to do is to reopen VAO20 and give more artists the chance to be creative whilst in isolation.  

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