The Bennett Prize

Entry FAQs

  1. May I submit a drawing, print, or collage for The Bennett Prize?
    No. The Prize is intended to support and advance figurative painting by women. Your painting may incorporate additional media, including drawing, collage, fibers, printmaking, photography* and the like, but traditional paint media, i.e. oil, acrylic and tempera, must be the primary material. As a guideline, the artwork must be at least 75% painted. *Please note: The rules specifically prohibit the submission of paintings created by simply painting directly over the top of a printed photograph.
  2. Must I be a U. S. citizen in order to enter The Bennett Prize?
    No. However, competitors must reside in the United States for at least part of the year. To maintain eligibility for The Prize, finalists must submit work for exhibition that will ship from within the United States and not transfer through U.S. Customs. The final Prize winner's solo exhibition will be held in the U.S. and all art for that show must also ship from within the U.S.  Entrants must reside in the United States (50 states and Washington, D.C.), at least part of the year.  Applicants do not need to be U.S. citizens, all legal residents are welcome to apply. These rules do not necessarily exclude international competitors. See the complete rules for more information.  
  3. I am not a U.S. citizen, but do travel to the U.S. frequently. May I enter my work so long as it is shipped from inside the U.S.? 
    Entrants must reside in the U.S. (50 states and Washington, D.C.), at least part time on an annual basis. Ideally, artists will also produce their art while in the U.S. Regardless of the artist's country of permanent residence, all artwork must ship domestically within the U.S. to and from the Muskegon Museum of Art in Muskegon, Michigan. In order to facilitate studio visits to the recipient of The Prize as part of the grant expectations, the winner is required to maintain a studio presence in the U.S. for at least part of the year. While we did not want nationality to be a qualifier, we do need the artists to have an active physical presence in the U.S. for a variety of reasons, from basic logistics to show promotion, travel, and the like.    
  4. Does the winner have to relocate for the residency? 

    No. The Bennett Prize "residency" refers to the two-year time period that the winner (awarded in May 2025) commits to painting leading up to the solo exhibition (summer 2025) and during that time she receives the grant funding. 

    Though the residency must occur in the United States to allow for studio visits, there is no specific physical location for the residency. The winner may paint from her home or a studio, wherever that may be, during the residency period (May 2025 through Sept. 2027).

  5. Prior to the official announcement of finalists, will you be sharing names and/or art work from artists who enter The Bennett Prize?
    No. We will not share names or works of artists who have entered The Prize. We will not be previewing any entries. We’re excited to let the jury do its work and may feature the work of runners-up at a later stage in the process. For more details, read the complete timeline. 
  6. May I submit works in pastel or watercolor?
    Yes. Pastel and watercolor works are eligible, provided they meet the criteria as listed in the complete rules.
  7. Are Bennett Prize finalists required to make their work in the exhibition available for sale?
    Bennett Prize finalists and the winner will have the option of offering their work for sale during the exhibition and traveling show. Indeed, we hope (but do not require) that they will do so. More information is available in the “Art Sales” section of the Complete Rules. Any sale arranged during the show will require a commission be paid to the museum.

  8. What do you mean when you ask for artists to submit a “detail” along with three to five other images? Why do you ask for this?
    A detail of an artwork is an image that documents a particular part of a work of art, highlighting a specific aspect of that work to show technical excellence or convey emotion. Artsy Shark has an excellent article about this topic. 

  9. Does the jury give preference to early-career artists?
    No. Chronological age of the artist is not a factor. Instead, The Prize is meant for women artists who have not yet received significant professional recognition for their work. The Prize defines this as artists who have not sold any single work of art for, nor received an art prize or award in an amount exceeding $25,000.

  10. Does the jury look for artworks like those in The Bennett Collection?
    The Bennett Collection is entirely separate from The Prize. Steven Bennett serves on the jury, but there are three other jurors for The Prize, each of whom brings his or her own preferences and considerations to the jury process. Looking at previous Prize awardees may not necessarily help entrants, as the jurors change each cycle. Rather, we recommend painting in a way that is true to your own artistic vision.

  11. Does The Prize give preference to paintings of women? What about paintings of men, children and older people?
    It is a misconception that The Prize is only for artists who paint the female form, or the nude female form. While the entrants to The Bennett Prize must be women, the figures depicted in their paintings may be of any gender and age in any setting or dress.

  12. Is The Bennett Prize sexist because it focuses on women artists?  The mission of The Bennett Prize is to propel women figurative realist painters. Historically, women have not been represented, paid or given the same opportunities as men. The Prize will continue its mission until there are as many paintings by women as men in museums, commanding the same prices and critical esteem. To learn more, visit the about section of our website

  13. Does The Bennett Prize promote diversity, equity and inclusion and if so, how?
    The Prize believes in the importance of amplifying diverse voices and encourages all women who meet eligibility requirements to apply. The Prize also actively works to promote the call for entry through channels that reach diverse populations. The hope is that the diversity of our applicants will continue to broaden as awareness of The Prize and of figurative realism painting grows.

  14. Is The Prize open to gender nonbinary people?  
    The Bennett Prize is open to anyone who paints in the figurative realist style and who identifies as a woman, regardless of their assigned gender at birth. This includes trans and cis women and nonbinary people.