Who can enter the VAO awards?

The competition is open to both amateur and professional artists, working in one or more of the following media: drawing, printing, painting, photography, digital art, sculpture. There are no restrictions on age or place of birth.

The jurors are selected and appointed by VAO. The members can be artists, writers, art critics, collectors and curators from the international contemporary art world. 

When is the Call for Entries for the VAO?

What is the submission procedure?

The main stages: Call for Entries, Stage 1 and Stage 2.

The overall winner of the VAO will be awarded:

  • A cash prize of £1,000 to support the production of new works

  • Commercial mentoring package  

  • Exhibition at a UK commercial Art Fair Supporters

£250 for each winning category and plus exhibition place.

Call for Entries: registration and payment

During this stage artists are invited to register and pay their entry fee online. The artist will receive their unique entry number once the payment fee has cleared. This entry number will be used for the artist throughout the competition.

Stage 2:

Stage 1: including submission of image

Artist must submit an image(s) of their work and complete the online form by the deadline of phase two, 12 midnight on 29th February 2020. The jury then views and discusses all the entries from the digital image submitted. This process is anonymous: jurors are not given the names of the artists but are provided with the following information: title, size, and medium.

Shortlisted artists will be notified that they have been selected for final stage of judging. Finalists will be notified if they are successful in the awards and be invited to attend the VAO exhibition.

How much does it cost to enter?

How do I register?

£15 per individual submission. £10 for entrants under
24 years old.

Artists can enter via our website or using:

Email: info@visualartopen.com

Post: Suite C 2nd Floor, 9 Abbey Square, Chester, CH1 2HU

Tel: 01244 952020

The payment and registration form are to be received by midnight on 29th February 2020.

How many works can I enter?

Where can I view the full terms and conditions of entry?

The full terms and condition of entry can be found on the dedicated page >>

A maximum of 5 works are permitted.

How many images of the work can I send in?

When do I submit my image?

Within the online application form, you can upload your images, if you have any trouble doing so please email us. You must submit your image as part of the Stage 1 process by 12 noon on 29 February 2020.

Do you have an upper age limit to enter?

There is no upper age limit.

Do I have to frame my paintings?

If you have been shortlisted, you will be required to send your work framed in preparation of events where your artwork will be showcased.

Can I enter using an alternative exhibiting name?

Artists can use a pseudonym or exhibiting name.

Does my work need to be for sale?

Yes finalists work will be placed on sale in the final exhibition, and VAO will exclusively undertake all sales of shortlisted paintings in the exhibition.

When will I find out if I have been selected for Stage 2?

You may send a maximum of two images per submission.

Can I enter if I am not a trained artist?


How recent does the work need to be?

The painting must be a new or recent work, preferably created in the past 3 years.

What happens if I change my postal or email address, or phone number, after entering?

Please inform VAO and we will amend our records.

Can VAO advise me on how much I should charge for my painting?

We can put you in touch with an independent art valuation expert who will be able offer guidance. 

Do I get any say in how my work is displayed?

The exhibition layout is determined by the jurors and the curators.

All artists who have been successful for Stage 2 will be contacted and their details published online.

What happens if my work has been sold?

If my work is accepted, when is the private view for exhibitors?

VAO will contact you as possible after the sale and you will be contacted about payment. After the exhibition we will arrange for the purchaser to collect the work.

You will be contacted to be advised on the dates.

Can I find out who has bought my work?

The name of the purchaser of a work is shared with the artist of that work unless the purchaser has requested otherwise.

Will there be an illustrated catalogue for the 2020 exhibition?

Yes, the exhibition will be accompanied by a full colour catalogue featuring images of all the paintings in the exhibition.

Will I be able to check and approve my catalogue entry?

VAO will ask you to confirm your details in advance; however approval is done by the organisers. 

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E:   info@visualartopen.com

T:   01244 952020

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