WASHINGTON, DC.-The competition is open to all professional artists age 18 and over who are living and working in the United States. Both emerging and midcareer artists are invited to participate. Each artist may enter one work depicting anyonea friend, a stranger, a relative, a self-portraitbut it must be the result of the artist's direct encounter with that person. While the human form must be the focus of the work, artists are invited to interpret the concept of portraiture broadly; for example, an entry might not include a face. The work must have been completed after January 1, 2007.
The winner of the competition will receive a cash award of $25,000 and will be awarded a separate commission to portray a remarkable living American for the Portrait Gallery's collection. The winning artist and the Portrait Gallery will collaborate to select the subject for the commissioned portrait. The second-prize winner will receive $7,500, and the third-prize winner will receive $5,000. Up to four additional artists may be commended for their work, and they will receive $1,000 each. All finalists' works will form a major exhibition on view at the National Portrait Gallery from October 23, 2009, until August 22, 2010.
Entries will only be accepted electronically, through the National Portrait Gallery's Web site, http://www.portraitcompetition.si.edu/, from June 2 until July 31, 2008. Entry to the competitionand submission of JPEG imagesis available online for a nonrefundable registration fee of $35. Artists who wish to submit time-based media (video, film, digital animation) will find instructions for entry on the competition Web site. Artists may submit a statement about their work, their particular entry, and/or the circumstances of the creation of the portrait. Dimensions and medium information will also be requested.
The first round of jurying will be done online. Judges will identify the semifinalists, whose works will be transported to Washington, D.C., at the Portrait Gallery's expense. The final selection of winners and other exhibitors will be made from those original semifinalist portraits. All works transported to Washington, whether chosen for the exhibition or not, will be returned to the artists at the Portrait Gallery's expense.
The public will have an opportunity to vote for its favorite work among the finalists through the People's Choice Award.