A - 2021-05-12T094504.309.png


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.

The VAO art competition is currently running in its seventh consecutive year and is open to both amateur and professional artists.


There are five key categories for entrants to apply to: ​​

  • Painting & Mixed Media & Printmaking

  • Illustration & Drawing

  • Sculpture

  • Photography / Digital Art 

  • Young Artist (16 - 24 years old)


Key Dates VAO21

Friday 12th - 24th November 2021 - The Visual Art Open 2021 Finalists Show Online (due to current Covid restrictions) 


Category Winners & Overall Winner - Tuesday 23rd November

People’s Choice Awards 2020 – Tuesday 23rd November


Key Dates VAO22

Wednesday 29th Sept 2021- Phase 1 Applications Open  

Wednesday 15th Dec 2021 - Phase 1 Applications Close 


Call for Artists


Overall Winner Receives:

  • £2,000 Cash Prize

  • Certificate of Achievement 

  • Premium Annual Membership with the Visual Artists Association

  • Annual Mentorship Programme 

  • Momentum Programme 

  • Solo Show/Art Exhibition in London

  • Art Voucher or Art Supplies

All Category Winners Receives:

  • £250 Cash Prize 

  • Premium Annual Membership with the Visual Artists Association

  • Art Exhibition of Finalists in London

  • Additional Online Promotion 

  • Certificate of Achievement 

All Finalists will be awarded:

  • Additional Online Promotion 

  • Certificate of Achievement​

ALL SUBMISSIONS will receive promotion on social media and email coverage to 60,000, plus an invitation to the annual show.

A - 2021-05-12T094901.062.png
A - 2021-05-12T095227.284.png

Why Apply to the VAO21 Art Prize?


1. As all artists know, art competitions are a really great way to announce your presence in 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 the 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 exhibition.



“lovely experience participating in a competition like this with lovely humans that help us artists in any way they can!

Awesome experience overall".

Codruta Panaite 

“Holly and I found the experience of entering the VAO 2020 really positive. It has been great getting our names and art out there. Not just as a collaboration but also as individuals. It has boasted both of our confidence in producing more work which is what we both needed.  We are both now doing more commissions and selling our own creative pieces.  "

Jonathan Harvey-Thomas 

The Visual Art Open is proud to be in partnership with the



The Fastest Growing Community of Artists Online


The leading membership organisation for Visual Artists globally; who help artists of all levels achieve their business ambitions.

We are committed to supporting visual artists developing their businesses commercially - increasing Sales and their Visibility. Our experienced team have been working successfully with independent artists over the past decade. The VAA platform has been created to champion artists at all stages of their careers to succeed in the business of art.

Why Join The Visual Artist Association?

FREE Public Liability Insurance - Get instant access to a range of legal documents and help including Public + Products Liability insurance (£5 Million) for your art business.

Artist Support Community

Network with the rest of the Association and Artists globally along with our directory of galleries + publishers.


The VAA’s Vault

Receive a range of articles with information, tips + tricks on how to grow + maintain your art business


Skills And Training

Constantly push yourself + your career with training programmes from increasing online sales to webinars from featured


The value of VAA membership has never been greater – from enhanced sales opportunities and a wider global community to access the latest professional insights, guidance and marketing technologies.


We support our members 


We are an inclusive arts membership organisation and welcome new members.

Choose a Membership Package that is right for you and become a member for as little as £4.50 a month