15th Semiannual Competition

Alison Ferris
Senior Curator
Des Moines Art Center

J. Rachel Gustafson
Assistant Curator
Norton Museum of Art


Jurors' Biographies
Alison Ferris, Senior Curator at the Des Moines Art Center, has been a curator for more than 20 years and is known for staging exhibitions that offer contemporary, critical engagement within a broad-based art historical perspective. Since she joined the Art Center in April 2016, she has curated Ruptures (2017) and Drawing in Space (2017).

Before arriving at the Art Center, she spent five years at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center where she curated a number of ambitious exhibitions including the kids are all right (2013-traveling to the Weatherspoon Art Museum and Addison Gallery of American Art); Photography and the Scientific Spirit (2015); and Ann Hamilton: draw (2015). She also served as guest curator for the Portland Museum of Art 2015 Biennial: You Can’t Get There from Here.

The not-for-profit Des Moines Art Center engages diverse local and international audiences with the art of today through its museum and school, adding to the cultural record through collections and programs. For further information, please visit
© 2017 Alison Ferris      
J. Rachel Gustafson is the Assistant Curator at the Norton Museum of Art. She joined the museum in 2015 and recently organized the exhibitions, French Connections: Photography (2017) and Pen to Paper: Artists’ Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art (2017)

In addition to curating exhibitions across a spectrum of artistic practices, her responsibilities include arts administration, exhibition planning, and acquisition research related to the museum’s collection. Previously, she served as a contributing writer for the National Endowment of the Arts while earning her masters in art history at American University in Washington, D.C. She was later awarded a fellowship at the National Museum for Women in the Arts and assisted in the organization of Total Art: Contemporary Video (2014).

The Norton Museum is internationally known for its distinguished permanent collection featuring American Art, Chinese Art, Contemporary Art, European Art and Photography. Its masterpieces of 19th century and 20th century painting and sculpture include works by Paul Gauguin, Louise Bourgeois, Constantin Brancusi, Grace Hartigan, Dennis Hopper, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Claude Monet, Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Augusta Savage, and Helen Torr. For further information, please visit
© 2017 J. Rachel Gustafson          

Note: To ensure objectivity and fairness artists should not contact the jurors. Any questions you may have should be directed to Dave Bown at +1 (917) 365-5265 or

Dave Bown Projects
We focus on advancing the field of visual arts by conducting research, buying works, and providing unrestricted monetary awards to visual artists.

Click here to find out more about Dave Bown Projects.

• Cash ... up to but not limited to $10,000 USD
One (1) Grand Pirze: $5,000
Five (5) Awards of Excellence: $1,000 each.

Note: Cash prizes are not purchase awards. Cash prizes are unrestricted monetary awards.

• Purchases
In addition to the cash prizes listed above; Dave Bown Projects will be buying works of art from artists as submissions are received.

The top 25 artists will be selected by the jurors and featured under Competitions on this website. Each artist will have their own page that will feature an image of their work, caption information, and a link to their website ... click here to see an example. You will retain the copyright to your images.

Currently the Dave Bown Projects network reaches over one hundred thousand people who are committed to the visual arts. We will have an announcement sent via email to an aggregation of tens of thousands of subscribers (collectors, curators, galleries, museums, writers, etc.).

Each of the artists from past competitions receive thousands of views on this website. We will produce a press release (click here to view a past press release) and organize opportunities for dialogue. We will not handle the sale of your work. All inquiries will be forwarded to you.

Note: Gallery owners have contacted artists that are featured under Competitions on this website.

What our past prize recipients are saying          

"This award has been critical in funding and promotion of my art work ... the new eyes that it
has brought to my work on my website and studio visits directly form the Dave Bown Projects
website .... I can't thank them enough ... it's great that this competition is not about who you
know ... it's just about the integrity of the work itself."

— Austin Ballard

“Receiving an ... award from Dave Bown Projects ... afforded me the opportunity to ... buy
additional supplies I needed, in particular, larger panels to paint on ... the recognition on
their web site gained me more web site traffic and I got the opportunity to work with a new
gallery as a direct result of the recognition from the award.”

— Brenda Hope Zappitell
“Most recently a local museum curator approached me and invited me to participate in an
exhibit ... I asked the curator ‘how did you find my work’ she said ‘the reason why I  invited
you to show is because of the prize from Dave Bown Projects."

— Etsuko Ichikawa
Click here to find out more about What our past prize recipients are saying.      
This competition is open to all visual artists who are 18 years of age or older. All styles, mediums, and themes are eligible.
During the previous competition, we received submissions from over 40 countries.

Note: Artists that have been exhibited or are currently being exhibited by the jurors are not eligible. Artists that have worked or are currently working with the jurors are not eligible. Employees of the [insert where jurors work here] are not eligible.

Selection Process

Early entries are encouraged ... Because previewing will occur on a daily and weekly basis by Dave Bown Projects as submissions are received.

Selection will be based on merit (your skills and abilities, via images of your work). All images will be considered and viewed by Dave Bown Projects. Dave Bown Projects reserves the right to reject a submission (images of work) at any time and for any reason.

Do not try to guess what the jurors might like ... the jurors have agreed to set aside their personal bias when they select artists. 

And the jurors will not form a committee when they select artists ... which is really good news for you. In other words, If only one of the jurors likes your work ... you could be selected.

The jurors will only have access to the images of your work and a document that list a reference number, medium, and dimensions per image. We will change the file names of each of your images (e.g., c-15_0123.jpg) so that the jurors will not have access to your name, gender, ethnicity, or any impermissible criterion or circumstance.

The jurors are interested in viewing images of work from emerging artists from all styles, mediums, and themes.

Note: Past competition results are not an indication of what the results of this competition will look like ... because the jurors are different.

What our past jurors are saying
“Mr. Bown is a well-respected patron of museums and individual artists ... I applaud his
investment in supporting emerging artists.”

— Claire C. Carter, Curator of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
“The artists who applied to Dave Bown Projects capture the diversity and vibrancy of
contemporary art today.”

— Carmen Hermo, Assistant Curator for Collections, Guggenheim Museum, New York 

“Dave Bown Projects ... rewards innovation with the kind of unrestricted generosity and
opportunity that has become all too rare in today's market-driven art culture.”

— Al Miner, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Click here to find out more about What our past jurors are saying.

19 May 2018, 11:59 p.m. EST

The list of 25 artists, images, caption information, and press release will be posted after 2 June 2018 under Competitions on this website ... so mark your calendar now. The 3 prize recipients will receive a phone call. All artists that enter a submission will be notified after 2 June 2018 via email.

Entry Fee
A non-refundable entry fee is required with your submission. There are no additional fees.
4 images for $40 USD, 7 images for $60 USD, 12 images for $90 USD
Please note the following options for payment of your entry fee:

You can pay your entry fee using PayPal. You don't need a PayPal account to use your debit or credit card to pay your entry fee using PayPal, simply click on one of the Pay Now buttons below. A new secure browser window will open up, which may take a few moments depending on your internet connection speed ... then click Pay with Debit or Credit Card.

..4 images
..$40 USD
7 images
$60 USD
12 images
$90 USD

• If you have a PayPal account, you can send money to or 917-365-5265

• If you have a PayPal account, you can send money to Dave Bown Projects via the secure URL below:

• You can call us at +1 (917) 365-5265 and we can securely process your debit or credit card. Or we can call you at your preferred time. Send an email to with your name, phone number, time zone, and the best time to call (e.g., morning, afternoon, evening).

Entry Form
After you pay your entry fee, copy and paste your Unique Transaction ID (e.g., 2JJ26549JM340074E) or Receipt Number (e.g., 1782-5181-1974-4707) into your Entry Form below:
Note: Video, web-based, and performance artists need to include a URL and an image (video still) for each piece.

We look forward to viewing images of your work.

Pay your Entry Fee
Complete and Submit your Entry Form
Tell your Friends and Colleagues about this competition

We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your submission.

Dave Bown
+1 (917) 365-5265
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