John Fries Award Draws Record Entries

Visual Arts

More than 700 emerging artists entered the John Fries Award this year, the highest number ever received in its six year history.

The award attracted entries from early career artists across diverse disciplines and locations – from Aboriginal artists in remote and regional art centres in the Northern Territory – to experimental artists in cities and major towns across Australia.  The number of artists from New Zealand also grew by 188% from last year.

“It’s really incredible to see interest in the John Fries Award grow by so much this year,” 2015 John Fries Award curator and judge, Oliver Watts said.

“We made some slight changes to help open the award up to artists who were able to provide a broad demonstration of how they’re developing their discipline. This has helped to encourage more emerging and student artists to submit their work.”

“Our adjusted time frames also mean we can give our finalists more time to develop a new work specifically for the exhibition, if they choose to, which is really exciting for the show as we’ll be able to see unique pieces that haven’t been exhibited before,” he said.

The entries will now be reviewed and the finalists shortlist developed, which will be announced later this month.

For the first time this year, all finalists will receive an artist fee at NAVA-recommended rates and assistance with freight costs will also be provided to help artists from interstate and New Zealand.

Some of the most highly-regarded professionals in contemporary arts are on the panel of judges for John Fries Award in 2015, including New Zealand-born curator and acclaimed arts writer, Justin Paton and exciting cross-disciplinary artist, Nell. Long-term judge, accomplished installation artist and daughter of the late John Fries, Kath Fries, will continue on the panel in 2015 alongside Oliver Watts, as this year’s new guest curator.Read the judges profiles here.

All finalists’ entries will feature in a month-long exhibition at UNSW Galleries at UNSW Art & Design – the award’s presenting partner for the second year running. This continued partnership outlines both Copyright Agency | Viscopy and UNSW Art & Design’s desire to build a professional and resilient creative economy by recognising outstanding talent in the emerging arts sector.

The award’s $10,000 prize money has been donated by the Fries family in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of Viscopy.