JCDC National Visual Arts Competition & Exhibition

Background to the Competition

In the years preceeding 2005, the JCDC hosted two separate competitions in the visual arts namely, the National Fine Arts and the National Photography Competitions. In 2005, a restructuring effort of the Visual Arts Department brought the two competitions under one name – the National Visual Arts Competition by which it was known for two years. In 2007, a historic collaboration began with the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ) to jointly host the annual event over a five year period. Since that time, the name of the competition was modified to become The National Visual Arts Competition & Exhibition. The competition underwent further changes at that time which resulted in the completion of the streamlining exercise that commenced two years before. The changes include:

• Amended rules and regulations of the competition

• Revised jury structure which comprises separate panels for youth and adult artists

• Newly designed certificates and medals which are individually inscribed

• Attractive sectional prizes which usually include cash and trophies

• The first national exhibition staged in Kingston

• Three travelling showcases around the island which display a collection of the award-winning entries to wider audiences

The Competition & Exhibitions serve as launching pads for the careers of a number of Jamaica\\\'s budding artists, enrich the community of local practitioners with new talent and provide opportunities for artists to gain access to the local and international public. The Competition accepts entries from artists of all ages in seven categories namely: Ceramics, Fibre Arts, Painting, Photography, Sculpture/Assemblage, Works on Paper and Video Art. Works done by adults and youth are judged separately by two distinct panels who consider and assess all aesthetic approaches to artmaking based on impact, originality, creativity and craftsmanship. The most impacting works that embody originality, creativity, dynamism and strong technique are selected by the juries for the coveted awards. These works are then showcased in one or more exhibitions.


The exhibition season begins with the Opening and Awards Reception of the first national showcase of winners in Kingston and thereafter, a part of the display travels to other locations across the island in keeping with the thrust to increase the promotion of artists and to encourage art appreciation by the public. Winners are publicly awarded their prizes at the Reception in Kingston. The Competition and exhibitions form part of the annual Festival of the Arts, a grand display of Jamaican talent and expression which culminates in the annual Independence Celebrations in late July to early August after a round of arts competitions organised by the JCDC.