What is The Lester Prize?

  • It is not one point-of-view, one tone nor one hue.
  • The Lester Prize exhibits all our traits—the heroic, the despicable, the humble, the deplorable, the principled and the fallen.  When you look upon these portraits of others, you can’t help but see yourself reflected.
  • The Lester Prize captures what it means to be ‘them’, to be ‘me’ and to be ‘us’.
  • With this ancient continent behind it, The Lester Prize looks out while welcoming the world in.
  • It is for portraiture that comes from an unexpected place, but can speak to all.
  • It is for the elevation of the artist but against vacuous celebrity.
  • It is for quality irrespective of style.
  • It is for insight over fashion.
  • It builds reputations, not just venerates those who already have one.
  • This is what makes The Lester Prize the fresh face of portraiture.

Our Pre-Selection and Judging Process

  • Our Pre-Selection Panel members for both the Adult 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).
  • 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 stand by and support all our Finalists, and respect the decisions made by our independent Pre-Selection Panellists and Judges.

Adult 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) | $50,000 cash 
  • Tony Fini Foundation Artist Prize (selected by artists’ peers) | $10,000 cash
  • Baldock Family People’s Choice Prize (selected by the general public) | $7,500 cash
  • Highly Commended x 2 (selected by a panel of judges) | $1,000 cash, $550 domestic art transport voucher, $500 framing voucher plus $250 art supplies voucher each

Call for Entries: 11 April — 10 July 2020 (5pm AWST).

Entry Fee: A$45.00 (inclusive of GST) per portrait. Artists are permitted to enter an unlimited number of portraits in 2020.

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) | Art supplies & framing valued at $2,625
  • Prizes for Schools (Years 10-12, Years 7-9) | Professional art workshops by Lester Prize Adult Finalists valued at $1,500

Call for Entries: 11 April — 24 July 2020 (5pm AWST).

Entry Fee: A$15.00 (inclusive of GST) per portrait. Artists are permitted to enter an unlimited number of portraits in 2020.