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Extra incentive for winner of 20th National Contemporary Art Award

21 February 2019

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The National Contemporary Art Award turns 20 in 2019 and major sponsors Tompkins Wake and Chow:Hill Architects have stepped up their support to celebrate the special milestone.

The overall winner of the annual award, managed by Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, will receive a cash prize of $25,000, up from $20,000 in previous years.

With a total cash prize pool of more than $32,000, the 2019 National Contemporary Art Award will be this year’s richest annual competition in New Zealand for individual artworks.

Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says Tompkins Wake and Chow:Hill’s increased support for the 20-year anniversary shows the two Hamilton firms’ genuine commitment to this important event.

“We couldn’t ask for better partners in the National Contemporary Art Award than Tompkins Wake and Chow:Hill,” says Ms Meecham.

“They are passionate about our city and region and know the value a thriving arts scene adds to a community. Their generosity in helping to mark the award’s 20th year goes above and beyond their enduring year-on-year support.”

Tompkins Wake Chief Executive Jon Calder says: “Tompkins Wake is delighted to continue our support of the National Contemporary Art Award in its 20th year and beyond. We are incredibly proud to be co-sponsor of this iconic national event. Tompkins Wake was founded in Hamilton nearly 100 years ago and we feel a strong affinity to the awards, now nationally recognised as the hallmark of excellence in contemporary art.”

The winner of the Hugo Award for Runner-Up, sponsored by Hugo Charitable Trust, will receive $5,000 while two Merit Awards of $1,000, supported by Random Art Group and Friends of Waikato Museum, will also be selected.

The $250 Campbell Smith Memorial People’s Choice Award winner will be decided by public votes during the exhibition season.

“Waikato Museum and the successful artists are extremely fortunate to have this suite of sponsors behind the award,” says Ms Meecham. “This will ensure the best in New Zealand contemporary art will be on display for our residents and visitors.”

The judge for the 2019 award will be announced when entries open on Monday 25 February 2019.

The exhibition will run from 3 August to 10 November 2019 at Waikato Museum.

The National Contemporary Art Award was initiated in 2000 by the Waikato Society of Arts. It has always been held at Waikato Museum, which has managed the award since 2006. Trust Waikato sponsored the award for the first 10 years, with Tompkins Wake and Chow:Hill co-sponsoring the award since 2015 (Tompkins Wake was also a co-sponsor in 2014).


For more information contact: 

Dan Silverton
Partnerships and Communications Manager
07 838 6956
021 056 9810