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Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information

Prize entry FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions about entering the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes.


Questions about the 2020 competitions

Who can deliver entries to the Gallery and when?

Deliveries are from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Couriers and freight companies can deliver works from 3 to 14 August.

All other deliveries – by artists or their representatives (such as a friend, relative or artist’s agent) – are from 10 to 14 August.

What’s being done to protect health in light of COVID-19?

What we are doing:

  • There is an additional week for entries to be delivered by courier (see above).
  • All artists, representatives and couriers who arrive onsite will register using a QR code to assist with contact tracing.
  • We will also use the contact details on your entry form, along with the time and date that your form is scanned when your work is delivered, to support contract tracing if necessary.
  • The number of people allowed in the packing room and loading dock will be limited and there will be markings and signage to help people maintain safe distancing while delivering entries.
  • Hand sanitiser is provided.
  • We’re cleaning frequently with hospital-grade disinfectants.
  • Staff in the packing room will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Staff will be available to assist artists moving large or heavy works.
  • Where physical distancing is not possible (eg where sculptors need to install their works with assistance), gloves and masks will be provided.

What we are asking you to do as artists:

  • Consider using a courier to deliver your artwork, if feasible, particularly if you deem yourself to be high-risk.
  • If you know other artists who are entering one of the prizes, consider arranging for one person to deliver the works.
  • If you are entering more than one prize or representing more than one artist, try to deliver all the works at once.
  • Do not bring people with you. Our staff can assist with large or heavy works. Artists with access requirements are encouraged to contact the Gallery in advance.
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided.
  • Follow the directions of staff.
  • Be prepared for longer than normal wait times to enter the packing room due to the extra safety measures that have been put in place.
  • Don’t deliver work yourself if you’re unwell, have experienced cold or flu symptoms in the last 14 days, or have returned from overseas in the last 14 days.
  • Check the contact details on your entry form are correct because we will be using these details to support contract tracing if necessary. If changes are required, email entries@ag.nsw.gov.au ASAP.

For visitors to the Gallery and our exhibitions, read the latest visitor information.

The Gallery is guided by the NSW Government’s health guidelines and we’ll provide updates to this information as needed.

Why have the eligibility periods changed?

The competition terms specify the residential period of the artist and the creation period of the work as a particular period of time before the date fixed by the Trustees for sending in entries: 12 months for Archibald and Wynne, and five years (artist) and two years (work) for the Sulman.

For 2020, the Trustees fixed that date (3 April 2020) and began accepting entries, then COVID-19 restrictions forced the suspension of the competition, which meant a new date had to be fixed (14 August 2020) once the competition resumed. As a result, the revised eligibility periods cover both dates.

What about the 2021 competitions?

The 2021 competitions are planned to proceed as usual in mid 2021. As a result, there will be some overlap with the 2021 competitions in terms of eligibility periods.

Questions for artists who entered before 21 March

I entered the 2020 competitions before 21 March. What should I do?

Just deliver your artwork with printouts of your completed form to the Gallery during the new delivery period.

By so doing, you indicate that you have accepted the revised instructions and conditions.

Please email entries@ag.nsw.gov.au if you:

  • have decided to change your entry or how you will collect it
  • wish to withdraw your entry for any reason

Your entry number remains the same.

We will automatically resend entry emails (with a link to the completed form) to all existing entrants within 48 hours of the announcement of the new dates.

For the printout to deliver with your artwork, you can either:

  • print the form using the link in that email (which may be in your spam/junk folder), or
  • print the form using the link in your original entry email from the Gallery, or
  • use your original form (ignore the old dates).

I entered the 2020 competitions before 21 March and I have decided to change my entry or how I will collect it. What should I do?

Email the changes ASAP to entries@ag.nsw.gov.au and we’ll then send you updated forms for you to deliver with your artwork.

If you have already withdrawn your old entry and received a refund, and you now want to enter one of the competitions, just enter as usual online.

What changed in the instructions and conditions since I entered?

As well as revising key dates and eligibility periods, and adding an early-delivery period for couriers, during the suspension period, the Gallery revised the prize entry instructions and conditions to provide greater clarity in the following areas.

Delivering your entry: The final paragraph of this section regarding insurance has been revised to make clear that works are covered by the Gallery while in our care, custody or control.

Licensing the work: This section has been revised to make clearer the rights granted by the artist to the Gallery in terms of reproduction of the work in prize-related material in perpetuity and our right to sublicense to sponsors and touring partners, and that any merchandising – other than the Archibald Prize catalogue and postcards – would be licensed separately.

Moral rights: This new section has been added to make clear the Gallery’s responsibilities to the artist (including attributing the work, using it in full where it is reasonable to do so and not making material changes to the work) along with the permissions granted to the Gallery (including our right to use details of the image where appropriate).

Force majeure: This new section has been added to address what may happen if the competition is impacted by unforeseeable circumstances.

Louise Hearman will not judge the Sulman Prize 2020. The name of the new judge will be published on the Sulman Prize entry page of the Gallery’s website when known.

General questions for Archibald, Wynne or Sulman

Can I start the artwork before the dates you’ve given?

Yes. We specify only a time period during which the work has to be finished.

Can I enter more than one artwork?

You can only enter one artwork in each prize eg one into the Archibald, another into the Wynne and another into the Sulman. You cannot enter the same artwork into more than one prize.

Can I enter an artwork that has already been in another competition held by another institution?

Yes, as long as the work is available for delivery, judging and exhibiting on the dates specified.

Can more than one person enter an artwork?

Yes. We accept entries done by collaborative artists.

Do I have to be over 18 to enter?

No. You can be any age to enter the Archibald, Wynne or Sulman Prizes.

How do I enter?

You must complete the entry form first online (including paying a fee) and press ‘submit’, then follow the instructions to send the completed printouts and your artwork to the Gallery.


Questions about the online entry form

What cards can I use to pay?

The e-commerce system we use accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Diners credit cards or prepaid cards as well as Visa and Mastercard debit cards.

When should ‘other’ be selected for gender on the form?

If the artwork is being submitted by a collaborative group and you are not all of the same gender, or if you don’t identify as male or female.

What kind of information do I put in the name notes?

It’s where you can tell us, for example, if your legal name is John Smith but you exhibit under the name Jack Smith or a pseudonym. Or, if you are a collaborative group, you can tell us the names of the individual artists. Most people, however, would leave this blank.

I made a mistake on my form. What should I do?

Do NOT submit another (corrected) entry. Just write your corrections on the printouts that accompany your artwork, and we’ll adjust our records if necessary after the work has been delivered.

Some information has changed since I submitted the form. What should I do?

Do NOT submit another (changed) entry. Just write the changes on the printouts that accompany your artwork, and we’ll adjust our records if necessary after the work has been delivered. Only contact us in advance if you need to change the prize into which you’ve entered the work – see the next question.

I entered my artwork in the wrong prize online or want to change it to another competition. What do I do?

You will need to submit another (corrected) entry so you can use the right paperwork. Then email entries@ag.nsw.gov.au with your name and the details of your INCORRECT competition entry so we can update our records and arrange reimbursement.

I’ve filled in the form and clicked submit but I’m not sure if it’s worked. What should I do?

If the form HAS been submitted successfully, you will see a message on a new screen saying ‘Thanks. Your entry has been submitted successfully.’ and giving you some more information.

If you DON’T see that message, DON’T keep clicking submit. First, check that you have entered credit card details in section 5. If so, take a look at all five sections of the form again to see if there are any messages in red telling you it hasn’t been filled out correctly. If so, fill in those parts again and make sure you have clicked on each of the boxes under declaration, then click submit.

In rare cases, if there is a problem with the external banking system processing your payment, you may see an error message.

If there seems to be an issue, we suggest you wait and try again later or on another day.

If you’re still in doubt about whether the process has worked, email entries@ag.nsw.gov.au with your details, including your phone number, and we’ll let you know.


Questions about artwork delivery

Can I send my artwork by Australia Post?

Yes. You can SEND your artwork by Australia Post if you choose, but it must arrive within the specified dates. We will NOT RETURN artworks by Australia Post. No matter how you send or pick-up your work, the Gallery and Trustees bear no responsibility for any loss or damage.

Where do I take my artwork?

Deliver your artwork to the loading dock at the back of the Gallery during the specified time period. Do NOT enter through the Gallery’s main entrance.

Has the Gallery received my artwork?

You’ll be sent an automatic email from the Gallery when your artwork is received (after the QR code on your printout is scanned by Gallery staff). Do NOT reply to that email. If you have questions, contact your delivery company to confirm delivery.


Questions about artwork collection

What happens if a courier is collecting my work?

You must wait for the Gallery to make contact about your work before it can be picked up.

We will contact the courier you nominated on the form – NOT you, the artist – to arrange for pick-up from an offsite location.

We suggest you contact your courier to arrange for them to notify you when we have been in touch.

Can my work be returned by Australia Post?

No, we will not return any work by Australia Post.

What should I do if the collection details on my entry form have changed?

If you have changed the way you are collecting your work either FROM a courier pickup or TO a courier pickup, you must phone the Gallery on 02 9225 1723 during the collection period.

However, if you’re just changing between ‘in-person pick-up’ and ‘sending a friend/relative/representative’, or the details of that friend/relative/representative changes, we don’t need to know in advance.


Archibald-specific questions

What does ‘painted from life’ mean?

It means that you must have AT LEAST ONE ‘live sitting’ with your subject (where you and your subject are together and you are working on their portrait). This MUST be in person; it cannot be via video link. At this live sitting, and at other times, you can take photographs and do sketches as references to help you to complete the portrait. ’Virtual sittings’ via video can also be part of the process. You do not have to finish the portrait at the live sittings, nor does the live sitting have to be at the start of the creative process.

Can I paint from a photograph?

Your subject has to have AT LEAST ONE live sitting with you but you can use photographs from that sitting or other times to complete the portrait.

Can I submit a drawing?

No. The Archibald Prize is a painting prize so there must be some form of paint included in your artwork.

Can I submit a mixed-media work?

Yes, as long as it has some form of paint physically included in the artwork. For example, a painting that includes a 3-D element is eligible but a digital reproduction of a painting (such as an animation or video) is not.

Can I submit a collage, pastel or ink work?

No, except if some form of paint is also physically included in the artwork as part of a mixed-media work.

Can there be more than one person in the portrait?

Yes. They all have to sign the form and the details for all should be entered into the form.

Does my sitter have to be an Australian citizen/resident?

No. There are no specifications about the sitter’s citizenship or residence (unless it is a self-portrait, of course).

My sitter is far away and can’t sign my completed form. What do I do?

Ask them to sign the sample statement, which can be downloaded from the right-hand column of our website’s Archibald entry page. (If the current one isn’t available, cross-out the competition year and write the appropriate year.) Or just ask the sitter to sign a statement using the same form of words; we don’t mind if it isn’t the official form. Your sitter then sends that to you, and you’ll need to send it to us with the rest of your entry documentation.

My sitter has died since I started the portrait and can’t sign the declaration. Can I still enter?

Yes, if the work meets the other criteria. The sitter’s statement must be signed by the executor of the estate.


Wynne-specific questions

What mediums are eligible?

The current terms and conditions include a landscape/seascape/cityscape painting in oil, watercolour, acrylic or mixed media (some form of paint must be included) OR a figure sculpture in stone, metal, wood or mixed media.

What is the John & Elizabeth Newham Pring Memorial Prize, and how can I enter it?

The Pring Prize is awarded to a watercolour by a female artist, and all entries in the Wynne Prize that meet those criteria are automatically considered.


Sulman-specific questions

I have created a design for a mural project but I haven’t painted it in-situ. Can I submit it?

No. The mural must be completed before you enter, and your submission must include photographs of the completed mural site as well as a scale design in colour.

Need more info?

For entry information and to explore previous finalists, see prizes

Got another problem or query?

Email entries@ag.nsw.gov.au with your details, including your phone number, and we’ll contact you during office hours (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm).