The 29th Annual Wallace Art Awards 2020

Job details

Wallace Arts Trust
14 Jul 2020
Work type
Awards, grants & residencies
Work classification
Visual Arts


$132,000 Cash Awards instead of Residencies. This year the Annual Wallace Art Awards will suspend its residential placements as prizes and instead offer cash Awards in their place:

Paramount Award: $52,000 (in lieu of ISCP, NY) and bronze trophy designed by Terry Stringer
Second: $22,000 (in lieu of British School at Rome, Rome)
Third: $20,000 (in lieu of Vermont Studio Center, Vermont)
Fourth: $16,000 (in lieu of Kaipara Award, Altes Spital, Switzerland)
Fifth: $8,000 (in lieu of Fulbright NZ Award, Headlands, Sausalito, San Francisco)
First runner-up: $2,500
Second runner-up: $2,500
Jury prize: $1,000 (discretionary)
People’s Choice Award: $750
Vladivostok Award: $7,250 (by invitation)

About the Awards

Sir James Wallace established the Annual Art Awards in 1992 and are now the longest surviving and largest annual art awards of their kind in New Zealand. Over the years some of New Zealand’s most prominent artists have entered and many of the winners’ and finalists’ artworks have been purchased by the Trust to add to the Collection. Past winners have included Robert Jahnke, Sara Hughes, Andy Leleisi’uao, Yuki Kihara, Mark Braunias and Judy Millar.

Part of the operating philosophy of the Awards has always been expansion, connection and development: by being offered artist residencies, awardees have gone on to expand the outlook of their practices, connected with a diverse range of peers locally and internationally resulting in the development of often quite different work from the type of art that garnered them the specific Award. In 28 previous iterations the Awards have themselves expanded to include six major international artist residencies based in prestigious institutions across the United States and Europe. The Awards have long standing relationships with the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York, Headlands Center for the Arts in California, Altes Spital in Switzerland and the British School at Rome. Fulbright New Zealand is a co-sponsor of one Award offered annually. 

The Wallace Art Awards are also the most democratic of Awards. The only restriction for entry is that the applicant must have New Zealand Citizenship or New Zealand Permanent Residency, which effectively opens it up to the entire resident population, as well as New Zealanders who live globally. Entries each year reflect this, with committed amateur artists entering alongside recognised professionals. 

The Awards are also notable for the diversity of artists who both enter and those who are deemed to be winners. Last year Awards were taken out by a group comprised of three men and six women, with two identifying as Māori, a couple as queer artists, all aged between their 20s and 60s, and hailing from places as far abroad as Kenya or as close to home as Onehunga.

Over the course of its history the Awards have granted over 100 prizes, and have enabled over 60 overseas residencies. The Trust believes residencies to be an invaluable part of the arts eco-system, and important for the development for individual practices. For all of these reasons the Arts Trust and Sir James are saddened at the grave situation presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year we cannot in good faith or conscience offer prizes which are based on international travel and experience. As responsible members of the art community and of New Zealand generally the Trust will not open our communities up to the potential deleterious effect of this modern plague. However, we must also sustain the Trust’s and the Awards’ support and celebration for our artists. 

How to apply

Artists can submit work in the mediums of painting, sculpture, audio-visual, print, photography, drawings and interdisciplinary arts. 

The entry form and information about how to enter can be accessed through the Wallace Arts Trust website.


Written by

Wallace Arts Trust

29 May 2020

Located in the historic Pah Homestead in Monte Cecilia Park, Hillsborough, the TSB Wallace Arts Centre opened to the public in August 2010.