The $50,000 Bennett Prize is Back at the Third Time

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Aneka Ingold : RJD Gallery

For any artist, receiving an art award is the highest form of recognition, a great honor, and also fantastic career advancement. Such awards generally go to artists who, having appeared or not, are known in the critical, curatorial, and collecting circles. And thus are already well on their way to potential success in the art world.

In this respect, the $50,000 Bennett Prize, a biennial juried competition, is unusual because it is aimed at artists, especially women artists working in obscurity. Explaining the reason for the award, Stephen Alan Bennett, who, along with his wife, Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt, launched the Bennett Prize in 2018 with a $3 million donation to the Pittsburgh Foundation (which administers it), says: The downward pressure of “big art” on women is artists was very tangible. And there are exceptionally talented artists who will probably never be recognized. Therefore, it was decided to create a prize that would feature female artists who, despite their age and experience, have not yet achieved full professional recognition.

Applications for the 2023 Bennett Prize, which includes a $10,000 runner-up award for the first time, are open until October 7th. The competition is not open to amateurs, students, or artists whose work has been previously sold for $25,000 or more, or who has received an award or royalties worth that amount.

The prize is distributed in the form of two scholarships of $25,000 each, paid out after the same number of years. For any artist, receiving an art award is the highest form of recognition, a great honor, and also fantastic career advancement. Such awards generally go to artists who, having appeared or not, are known in the critical, curatorial, and collecting circles. And thus are already well on their way to potential success in the art world.

In this respect, the $50,000 Bennett Prize, a biennial juried competition, is unusual because it is aimed at artists, especially women artists working in obscurity. Explaining the reason for the award, Stephen Alan Bennett, who, along with his wife, Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt, launched the Bennett Prize in 2018 with a $3 million donation to the Pittsburgh Foundation (which administers it), says: The downward pressure of “big art” on women is artists was very tangible. And there are exceptionally talented artists who will probably never be recognized. Therefore, it was decided to create a prize that would feature female artists who, despite their age and experience, have not yet achieved full professional recognition.

Applications for the 2023 Bennett Prize, which includes a $10,000 runner-up award for the first time, are open until October 7th. The competition is not open to amateurs, students, or artists whose work has been previously sold for $25,000 or more, or who have received an award or royalties worth that amount.

The prize is distributed in the form of two scholarships of $25,000 each, paid out after the same number of years. Ten finalists will be chosen to take part in an exhibition. The exhibition is going to be hosted by the Muskegon Museum of Art (MMA) in Muskegon, Michigan, with the winner featured in a solo exhibition at the completion of her grant.

The requirements for the Bennett Prize include a question of style. The competition is limited to artists whose work revolves around figurative realism. This condition is another reason for the existence of the Prize. Bennett and Schmidt are both collectors and supporters of the women artists who create such works. Viewing ended June 5th.

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