This year’s John Moores Painting Prize will offer a combined total of almost £40,000 across seven prizes. The first prize winner will receive £25,000 and a solo display at the Walker Art Gallery, with four additional prizes of £2,500 being awarded.

For the first time there will be a new Emerging Artist Prize, offering an artist within two years of graduating, or a final year undergraduate, £2,500 in prize money. The winner will also receive £2,500 of art materials courtesy of Winsor and Newton, plus a month long residency at Elephant West in London.

Explaining the reasons for launching such a prize, John Moores Painting Prize Project Manager Katherine Lloyd says: “We are really excited about this additional prize for this year. It’s something we have been thinking about doing for quite a while, thinking about what is going to be the most use to an emerging artist at this point of their career.

“Ultimately we want the final selection of paintings that go through to the exhibition to be as diverse as possible, with all different types of artists, ages and backgrounds across the entirety of the UK. But I know from talking to younger artists, and visiting studio groups in universities that John Moores Painting Prize can seem like quite a daunting competition to enter. This is probably because of the association with the 1st Prize Winners we have had in the show.”

Lloyd explains that some artists might not feel that they are quite at that stage where they can apply and make it through to the final exhibition. “We do have a lot of mid career artists who end up in the final selection, but this is actually because we have lower number of applications from early career artists. We want to try and support and encourage those artists to apply.”

Last year, the prize celebrated its 60th anniversary by offering additional benefits for the first prize winner, including a three month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University.

“The winner Jacqui Hallum had access to their studio space and facilities, making a whole new body of work in Liverpool which is currently on display in the Walker Art Gallery. We know that she found this really valuable. It is really nice for us to see a paintings in the show, but it is quite hard for us to judge the entirety of an artist’s practice, their focus, and where their ideas come from. This is what the fellowship offered.”

Lloyd says that, in terms of the Emerging Artist Prize, John Moores Painting Prize wants to offer something similar, giving an artist the time and focus to develop with the benefit of professional support.

“We have partnered with Winsor and Newton who have very generously given the prize £2,500 of art materials. This voucher can be used at any point over the next couple of years. In addition, there will be a residency at Elephant West in London in 2021. This will be a month long with a very large studio space, and the artist will receive mentoring to help support whatever kind of body of work they create whilst they are there.”

In addition, the winner will receive a living allowance of £100 per week and if they aren’t based in London accommodation for the duration. “The work they make will culminate in an event where it will be displayed. So there will be a strong focus on offering support beyond simply winning the cash prize.”

The winners will be decided by a jury that includes artists and creative influencers: Hurvin Anderson; Michelle Williams Gamaker; Alison Goldfrapp; Jennifer Higgie and Gu Wenda.

Lloyd comments: “It is quite a diverse group of individuals, but this will hopefully encourage a broad selection of applicants.”

Since being founded in 1957 the prize, which is organised in partnership with the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, has awarded almost £650,000 in prize money across 30 exhibitions, showcasing more than 2,250 works of art.

Past prize winners include David Hockney (1967), Mary Martin (1969), Lisa Milroy (1989), Peter Doig (1993), Keith Coventry (2010), Rose Wylie (2014) and Michael Simpson (2016).

The call for entries for the John Moores Painting Prize 2020 deadline has now been extended to 5 April 2020. For more information, visit or see the listing on

1. Visitors at the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 exhibition, celebrating 60 years of the Prize. Copyright: Gareth Jones
2. Jacqui Hallum, winner of the John Moores Painting Prize 2018. Copyright: Gareth Jones

More on

Help us design a logo to celebrate our 40th Anniversary

a-n Board: we are recruiting 4 new Board members