The Naked & Nude Art Prize®

(Previously the Manning Art Prize: Naked & Nude)



 In the beginning…

In 2023, we celebrate the 16th Manning Art Prize/Naked Nude Art Prize.
The Inaugural Walkom Manning Art Prize was opened on 19 October 1990 and was shown at the Manning Regional Art Gallery (then located within the Manning Entertainment Centre), in the nearby Tourist Information Centre and in several shops in the Taree area. The Friends of the Gallery partnered with the Gallery to produce the Art Prize. The major art prize was (and remains) acquisitive, and the Friends of the Gallery donated the major work to the Manning Regional Art Gallery collection. The prize money was more than $6,000 and the Major Prize was $2,000. Local and regional artists embraced the Art Prize.
In 2006 principal sponsors Philip and Dusty Walkom, wrote to the Friends of the Gallery, saying “…we have decided to remove our name (from the Art Prize) to encourage other interested benefactors to continue to promote the arts. We hope that by taking this positive step the community would feel a greater affinity and ownership with the prize …”. Philip and Dusty also committed to continue as principal supporters of the Art Prize, which became known as The Manning Art Prize.
The Art Prize was open to all genres and had multiple categories. Over the years, there were themes such as “Images of The Human Body”, “AQUA VITAE: Water of Life” and “Carnival of Life”. In 2013, John McDonald, critic for the Sydney Morning Herald, suggested that the theme of Naked & Nude should become an integral part of the Manning Regional Art Gallery’s collection. The Manning Art Prize became the Naked & Nude Art Prize and has grown to be a prestigious nationally recognised event.


Prizes and prize winners
Since 2007, the value of the Major Acquisitive Art Prize has increased from $10,000 to $35,000. The People’s Choice Prize is $2,000 and is awarded in memory of Val Good, a passionate supporter of the arts and benefactor of the Gallery.
The Manning Art Prize, and later the Naked & Nude Art Prize, have attracted nationally prominent artists, including recent winners Wendy Sharpe, Robert Malherbe, Dagmar Cyrulla, Laura Matthews and Loribelle Spirovski.


Selection and judging
The Art Prize has always been selective and up to the 2003 Art Prize, artists sent their works to the Gallery where independent selectors chose the finalists. After 2003, artists completed an entry form and supplied photographs of their artworks to allow selectors to choose finalists.
In 2017 Friends developed an online application for the Naked & Nude Art Prize. The digital submission of entries, photos and payments streamlines the selection of finalists and allowed the Friends to hold the 2021 Art Prize during COVID. Three selectors choose the finalists, and an independent judge selects and announces the Major Acquisitive Art Prize at the gala opening. The Gallery announces the People’s Choice award at the close of the exhibition.