History of the Great Southern Art Award

The Great Southern Art Award (GSAA) is part of a suite of Cultural Services offered by the City of Albany.

Acquisitive art prizes have existed within the City of Albany since 1963 with the local radio station 6VA commencing the prize process with the ‘6VA Art Competition’.

Since that time acquisitive art competitions have been funded and supported by the Town of Albany, then later, the City of Albany through the ‘Albany Art Competition’, ‘The Shire of Albany Prize’, ‘Albany Art Prize’, ‘Great Southern Art Award’ and the ‘City of Albany Art Prize’. During this time the award has been held at several venues, and undergone several name changes, most recently being known as the ‘Centennial Art Prize’. It has grown and changed to reflect the changing cultural environment.

Approximately 38% of the City of Albany art collection has been acquired through the prize process.

The inaugural GSAA of 2013 established itself in a new home at the Vancouver Arts Centre (VAC) which was extremely well received. A public program of artist talks and workshops for children was introduced to add value to the event.

In 2014, the GSAA increased its profile through enhanced branding, expansion of the public program and increased its reach through co-programming with the Vancouver Street Festival.

After the GSAA 2015, it was decided that the event would become biennial, to allow for a greater diversity of community based exhibitions in every second year.

In 2019 the GSAA was presented at the Vancouver Arts Centre while the Town Hall was undergoing refurbishment. This year saw the first time that entry numbers were capped to a maximum of 80 entries. This was to ensure the professional presentation of artworks within the galleries and as a way to ensure the competition was still available for everyone to enter without a pre-selection process.

The Great Southern Art Award 2021 will be held at the newly refurbished Albany Town Hall, and will form part of the launch festival for the upgraded building.