Main Prize.

The Lester Prize is one of the country’s premier art prizes—an award that places artists and community proudly front-and-centre. Our prize is about the advancement of the artists, not the celebrity of the sitters—it always has been and always will be.

The Prize pool consists of:

  • The Richard Lester Prize for Portraiture (selected by a panel of judges; non-acquisitive) | $50,000 cash 
  • Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize (selected by artists’ peers; non-acquisitive) | $15,000 cash
  • Minderoo Foundation Spirit Prize (selected by Minderoo Foundation; non-acquisitive) | $10,000 cash
  • Baldock Family People’s Choice Prize (selected by the general public) | $10,000 cash
  • Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize (selected by a panel of judges; non-acquisitive) | $5,000 cash 
  • Highly Commended x 2 (selected by a panel of judges) | $2,000 cash, $550 domestic art transport voucher, $500 framing voucher plus $250 art supplies voucher each
  • Barton Family Foundation Installers’ Prize (selected by the Art Gallery of Western Australia installation team) | $5,000 cash 

Call for Entries: 27 March — 5 July 2021 (extended date). Find out more about our Pre-Selection & Judging Process.

Entry Fee: A$45.00 (inclusive of GST) per portrait.

Main Award entries for 2021 are now closed.

Youth Prize.

The Lester Prize Youth Award encourages the creative talents of young and aspiring artists. It is open to all High School students across Australia.

The Prize allows entrants to showcase their works and present their unique artistic perspectives; helps build their confidence to further their art practice; and allows them to share their stories with the wider community. 

The Prize pool consists of:


  • Prizes for Students (Years 11-12, Years 9-10, Years 7-8) | Cash prizes, art supplies & framing valued at $4,125
  • Prizes for Schools (Years 10-12, Years 7-9) | Professional art workshops by Lester Prize Adult Finalists valued at $1,500

The Youth Awards are kindly supported by Oxlades Art Supplies, Montauk Lighting Co., Arts Edge Photo & Frame, the Valuing Children Initiative and Lions Club, City of Perth.

Call for Entries: 27 March — 16 July 2021

Entry Fee: A$15.00 (inclusive of GST) per portrait. 

Youth Award entries for 2021 are now closed. 

Our Pre-Selection and Judging process.

  • The Pre-Selection Panel members and Judges for both the Adult Awards and Youth Awards change every year. They are a group of independent experts in their respective fields with no commercial association with The Lester Prize.
  • During the Pre-Selection process, the panel is never provided the name or location of the artist (just the artwork image, title, dimensions and medium on screen).
  • Unfortunately, due to the large volume of submissions, we are unable to provide individual feedback to entrants.
  • This is the same process that many art prizes both in Australia and overseas undertake, and one that the Prize has followed since its inception.
  • Our Pre-Selection and Judging processes are fully transparent and something we are very proud of as we work hard to ensure there is no bias, personal, political or financial influence in the selection of our Finalists and Winners.
  • We are unable to enter into any correspondence about the selection of the Finalists and Winners.
  • We stand by and support all our Finalists, and respect the decisions made by our independent Pre-Selection Panellists and Judges.