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to the
VAO Art Awards

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)


2023 Applications Opening Soon

Key Dates VAO22

Phase 1

Wednesday 29th Sept 2021- Phase 1 Applications Open  

Wednesday 15th Dec 2021 - Phase 1 Applications Close 

Phase 2

Monday 10th Jan 2022 - Phase 2 Applications Open

Wednesday 23th Mar 2022 - Phase 2 Applications Close

Phase 3

Monday 11th April 2022 - Phase 3 Applications Open 

Thursday 23rd June 2022 - Phase 3 Applications Close 



Stage 1 - Longlisted Artists Announced – July 2022


Stage 2 - Finalists Announced – August 2022

Winners Announced - November 2022

Black and Yellow Simple Dark Mission and Goal Proposal Internal Communication Website (7).


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.

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Why Apply to the VAO22 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".

"Thank you so much for the opportunity to showcase my work I have really enjoyed the experience and I will definitely be interested in applying in future events".

Codruta Panaite 

Ruth Baker 

“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.  "

"I am so grateful to the Visual Art Open and to this year's judging panel for seeing and believing in my artwork and its potential.

Ashton Blyth

Jonathan Harvey-Thomas 

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



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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.

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