2021 Opening soon


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.

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 - Online Virtual Fair of all 30 shortlisted works from the VAO, winners announced


November 2020 - VAO20 Overall Winner Exhibition at Deepbridge Chester Arts Fair 2021 



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

  • Painting & Mixed Media & Printmaking

  • Illustration & Drawing

  • Sculpture

  • Photography / Digital Art 

  • Young Artist (16 - 24 years old)

  • Children's Award (15 years and under)


Key Dates VAO21

1st October 2020 - Applications Open 


Overall Winner Receives:

  • Cash prize

  • Solo Show at Chester Arts Fair Virtual Event

  • Annual Mentorship Programme  

  • International Online Global Art Exhibition of Finalists

  • Free Career Development Talks

  • 20% Discount with Cass Art

All Category Winners Receives:

  • £250 cash prize 

  • Finalists will be exhibited at Deepbridge Chester Arts Fair Virtual Event 2020

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 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 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.

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




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.

Our programme does this in a number of ways:

  • Assist artists in building their businesses by generating sales via distribution channels (self-representation, galleries, publishers, online)

  • Advice on personal brand creation, PR and marketing

  • Offer practical support in managing your art business (Mindset, Legal, Insurance)

Members artistic disciplines mainly range from Painting, Drawing, Sculpting, Photography, Printmaking, Ceramics and Mixed Media.

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

Become a member for as little as £4.50 a month

For more information visit:


Presented by


T:   01244 952020

9 Abbey Square

Privacy Policy 2018

  • Instagram - White Circle
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle

Registered Co No. 08295272