23 December
Photo by Khara Woods on Unsplash

Stanthorpe Art Prize 2020

Arts Law regularly reviews the terms and conditions of competitions and rates them out of five stars. Our review looks broadly at the terms and conditions of a competition. In particular, we look closely at how a competition deals with an entrant’s copyright and moral rights and consider this in light of the prize. Entrants should always take into account the possible profile-raising which may result from being a finalist or winner.

By accepting the terms and conditions of a competition, entrants should be aware that they may be entering a legally binding contract.

For more information, see our free information sheet on competition conditions. Artists are welcome to contact Arts Law for legal advice on the terms of a competition. We also invite competition organisers to contact Arts Law for best practice assistance to make their terms and conditions fairer for artists. 

Please note: Prior to February 2018, Arts Law rated out of five stars only the terms of a competition which dealt with copyright and moral rights. Arts Law’s competition reviews are now more holistic, such that our rating out of five stars now reflects a broad review of all the terms and conditions of the competition. For more information see our website. 


This month, Arts Law has reviewed the terms and conditions of the Stanthorpe Art Prize 2020 in Queensland, organised by the Stanthorpe Art Gallery Society Inc. Read the terms and conditions of this competition here. The deadline for this competition is 16 March 2020. The terms and conditions contain information about the prize, but entrants should also look at webpages for the Glossary, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Key Dates.

Arts Law has rated this competition 4.5 out of 5 stars

Arts Law made suggestions to the competition organiser to make this competition’s terms and conditions more artist friendly, and we are delighted that it took on board our suggestions.

The competition is open to all artists in Australia, and entries must have been completed after 31 March 2018. There is no set theme and entries can be in any medium (excluding those requiring powered technologies, like visual display screens). There is a $50,000 prize pool with $22,000 for the most outstanding artwork. In addition there are 10 other prizes ranging from $1,500 to $3,000: three prizes for 2D works, three prizes for 3D works, and prizes for Emerging Artist, Local Artist, Youth Artist, Public Choice and Best in Show.  A panel of judges will review the entries and select finalists. The finalists will have their work exhibited in the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery (the Gallery) from 5 June – 29 July 2020, and the winners will be announced on the exhibition’s opening night (5 June 2020).

All of the artwork must be available for sale (the sale price is determined by the artist), and the Gallery will take a 33.33% commission. The Gallery itself may purchase artwork, and we note that if it decides to do so it will also take the 33.33% commission. So, artists should bear in mind this commission when setting their sale prices.

Copyright and moral rights 

The competition organiser is to be congratulated for the way it deals with copyright. It demonstrates a respectful treatment of artists’ rights.

Regarding copyright, finalists are required to give the Gallery a non-exclusive licence, for 5 years only, to reproduce their work by print and digital media for non-commercial purposes “in the advertising and promotion of the Stanthorpe Art Prize, the Stanthorpe Art Gallery and the Southern Downs Regional Council Art Collection”. This is an excellent example of an artist-friendly copyright licence.  It is limited in time – 5 years is a reasonable period. It is also limited in purpose in that the Gallery can only use the artworks for the described advertising and promotional purposes, which must not be commercial.  Finally, the licence is only required from the finalists (rather than all entrants), which reflects best practice.

In addition to artists having copyright in their artworks, artists also have moral rights in respect of their works. This includes the right to be credited and the right to have their work treated with integrity. In this regard, the terms and conditions expressly state that “all moral rights of the artist will be asserted”. While we appreciate the Gallery’s positive intention with this statement, for a perfect 5 out of 5 rating we would prefer to see express acknowledgments that the Gallery will always credit an artist whenever their work is exhibited and used, that their work will be treated respectfully and that no changes will be made to an artist’s work when reproduced without first obtaining the artist’s consent.  

Other important information

It’s great to see that the Gallery provides insurance for artworks while in its possession and control.  Otherwise, the terms state that it is the artists’ responsibility to have insurance for their artworks in transit. This fair and reasonable.  Artists should also bear in mind that their artworks need to be collected by the deadline of 14 September 2020 due to a lack of storage capacity.

To conclude

The competition offers a generous cash pool of prizes with an opportunity for profile-raising, on very fair terms. Arts Law worked with the Gallery to make these terms and conditions artist friendly, and in doing so the Gallery demonstrated to us how committed it is to artists’ rights and to following best practice with regards to empowering artists and creative communities.  Well done to the organisers of the Stanthorpe Art Prize 2020!

You can lodge a query with us here if you would like to obtain advice from Arts Law about this competition.

Further Information 

Please email us at [email protected] to tell us about any competitions or prizes you think we should check. See more about Arts Law’s campaign to improve competition terms and conditions in the Prizes and Competitions section.