2020 Applications Now Closed

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.


UK Artists give free Art for all donations to Mental Health Charity Appeal


The CreateArt4Hope appeal organised by The Visual Artists Association, will help the charity in delivering vital front-line services in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Everyone who donates to the appeal no matter how small will receive a curated collection of four A3 size limited edition prints worth hundreds of pounds generously gifted by four award-winning artists’ including international sculptor Emma Rodgers; London based illustrator’ Carne Griffiths; Scottish fine landscape artist, Michael Batey; and contemporary animal painter, Tammy Walters.

Donate here      Claim your FREE ART here

VAO2020 PRIZE FUND £8000:

Overall Winner Receives:

  • Cash prize

  • Solo Show at Chester Arts Fair

  • Annual Mentorship Programme  

  • International Online Global Art Exhibition of Finalists

  • Free Career Development Talks

  • 20% Discount with Cass Art

All Category Winners Receives:

ALL SUBMISSIONS will receive promotion on social media and email coverage to 50,000, plus an invitation to the annual show.

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, 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


28th August 2020 - Stage One Results Announced


30th September 2020 - Stage Two Judging Selection


7th October 2020  - 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 


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