Portraits from finalists of the 2019 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Courtesy Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Announces Call for Entries for Sixth Triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition – $25,000 winner and lesser cash prizes

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announces an open call from Oct. 5 through Jan. 29, 2021, for submissions to its sixth triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.
Established in 2006, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition invites artists (ages 18 and over) living and working in the United States, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam, to submit one portrait for consideration by a panel of experts. Artworks by prizewinners and finalists are then featured in a museum exhibition. The competition focuses on broadening the definition of portraiture while highlighting the genre’s wider relevance to society and within the field of contemporary art. It aims to bring together works that attend to the country’s diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and other conditions that shape the individual and collective identities of artists and sitters.

The first-prize winner will receive $25,000 and a commission to portray a remarkable living American for the National Portrait Gallery’s collection. Additional cash prizes will be awarded. Submissions from each finalist and prizewinner will form “The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today” exhibition, which will be displayed at the Portrait Gallery from April 30, 2022, through Feb. 26, 2023, before traveling to other cities in the United States.

The competition welcomes all media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, printmaking, textiles, video, performance and digital or time-based media. Artworks may originate from direct encounters between the artist and the sitter, or draw on earlier references, such as art historical images or archival sources. Portraits may be of individuals or groups and represent sitters of different ages. All entries by eligible artists must be submitted electronically through the online submission site. For further instructions and details, visit portraitcompetition.si.edu.

2017 award-winning photograph Muerto Rico by ADÁL. (Collection of the artist, © ADÁL.)

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