The 2021 John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize and the 2021 Design Prize are open for entries

WINNER: The 2019 John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize winner was Penny Dowie for her painting Spirit of Spring. Pictured are her son and his family Toby, Olivia, Isabelle and Eliza Thomas and 2019 judge Elle Freak. Photo: SUPPLIED
WINNER: The 2019 John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize winner was Penny Dowie for her painting Spirit of Spring. Pictured are her son and his family Toby, Olivia, Isabelle and Eliza Thomas and 2019 judge Elle Freak. Photo: SUPPLIED

Entries are now being called for two of the feature events of the 2021 Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival - the 2021 John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize and the 2021 Design Prize.

In 2021 - with the generous support from long-time sponsor The Balnaves Foundation - the prize money for the John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize has been increased to $12,000, with a further Local Art Prize of $1000 also on offer thanks to the generous sponsorship of local Festival supporter, Lois Hodge.

JSN Art Prize Coordinator and Chair of the Festival Committee John Mossop said the John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize is a highly anticipated event of the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival - both for entrants and Festival goers - and is the springboard to the Festival.

"It is open to all emerging and established artists throughout Australia, and entries must be inspired by the works of this early Penola poet," said Mr Mossop.

"The competition has previously attracted a wide range of entries from artists working in a two dimensional medium from within this region and beyond, and has firmly made its mark on the artist calendar."

The Balnaves Foundation have been generous sponsors of the John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art Prize since 2011. The Balnaves Foundation is a private philanthropic organisation established in 2006 by Neil Balnaves AO to provide support to charitable enterprises across Australia.

As in past years, a Local Art Prize is open to those artists residing within the Limestone Coast as a further encouragement for the local community to get involved.

"For those considering entering for the first time, it really is a wonderful opportunity to be part of a dynamic Festival whilst acknowledging Neilson's place in Penola's history," said Mr Mossop.

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Also calling for entries is the 2021 Design Prize of $1000, sponsored by the Penola & District Community Bendigo Bank which sees the winner's graphic design work used for inspiration for the promotional material for the following year's Festival. This may include the programme, posters, flyers, website, banners and other marketing collateral.

It has been created to celebrate creativity and excellence and provides an ideal forum for emerging designers to have their work recognised through a professional platform.

"The Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival Committee aims to create a dynamic, exciting event each year, and it is through Competitions such as these that the Festival really does shine," said Mr Mossop.

The Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival will be held over three days in May, with the announcement of the 2021 John Shaw Neilson Art prize and 2021 Design prize winners marking the official opening of the Festival on Friday 14 May at the Penola High School. The exhibition will be on display for a week following the Festival.

The winning John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art entry will be included in the acquisitive collection of previous winners at the Penola Coonawarra Visitor Information Centre.

In 2022, the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival will celebrate its thirtieth year, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of John Shaw Neilson's birth.

Entries for both competitions close on Friday 7 May 2021.

Further details and Competition forms are available at www.artsfestival.com.au/competitions/