Frequently asked questions

Who can enter the SPAs?

The competition is open to all artists who were either born in Scotland or, at the time of submission, were studying in Scotland or had their primary residence in Scotland. Artists entering the competition must be aged 16 years or older by 1 October 2019. Artwork submitted to the SPAs should not have been previously exhibited in Scotland. This means it should not have been on physical public display in an exhibition or any public place. This includes bookshops and theatres etc.

What is the deadline? 

Entry forms, digital images and entry fees must be received by by 23.59 hours on Saturday 30 June 2019. 

When will I know if my work has been selected?

By 31 July 2019, all fine artists and photographers selected for the exhibition will have been informed. The list of selected fine artists and photographers will be published on this site on 1 August 2019. All entrants will also receive a personal message indicating if their work has been selected or not.

How many entries can I send?

Artists may enter either or both of the fine art and the photography competitions. Each artist may enter no more than six entries in each of the competitions (fine art and photography). 

Can I submit a portrait of animals?

Animals may feature in a portrait but the primary subject must be human

What materials may I use?

Works entered for the SPA Fine Art Award may be in 2D or 3D formats and created in any medium. Works entered for the Richard Coward SPA in Photography must be in black and white and can be digital or film. 

What are the size limitations?

Fine art submissions: 2D submissions must be on a stretcher or board and no smaller than 30cm x 30cm (unframed) and no larger than 150cm by 150cm (framed). All 2D works entered for the Fine Art Award Exhibition should be ready to hang and display. 3D works should be self-supporting with a minimum size of life-size (head) and maximum size of 100 cm (height) x 50 cm x 50cm. Full instructions for installation of the work should be included in the entry form.

Photographs submitted for the exhibition should be no smaller than 28cm x 31cm (unframed) and no larger than 65 cm x 65 cm (framed). Photographs accepted for the exhibition must be framed and glazed.

How should I photograph my work?

Read the Photographing Artwork guide for information about photographing your work.  

Can I share the portrait I have entered on social media?

If the work you are entering is on social media please don’t mention that it has been entered until after the exhibiting artists have been announced. If your work is selected for the exhibition you may release this information on social media immediately and as often as you wish. We ask all exhibiting artists to help us promote the SPAs by tagging @scotportrait.

What happens if my work is selected for the SPA exhibition?

All artists who enter the competition agree that the works submitted may be exhibited as part of the Scottish Portrait Award exhibitions. At least 30 fine art submissions and 30 photographic submissions will be awarded a place in the Scottish Portrait Awards Exhibition to be held at the Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh, in November. Artists whose work(s) have been selected for exhibition will be notified 31 July. Artists are responsible for preparing their works for the exhibition, for insurance, delivery and collection. Please read the section in the rules on INSURANCE, DELIVERY AND COLLECTION OF WORKS.  More information will be provided to artists whose work has been selected for entry.

Do I keep the copyright to my work?

The copyright for all works entered in the SPAs will remain the property of the artist. However, it is a condition of entry that the artist agrees unconditionally that the Trust may reproduce any exhibited works, free of charge, for the purposes of marketing, promotion, merchandise, discussion and education in direct connection with the Award and exhibition, in all media worldwide including the exhibition catalogue and subsequent publications, posters, prints, postcards, the internet and within television documentaries, and may license these specific, limited rights to others for the same purposes. The SACCT also reserves the right to reproduce selected images free of charge for core non-commercial purposes. It is also a condition on entering the competition that the artist agrees that visitors to the Scottish Arts Club are permitted to take photographs of their work for personal, non-commercial use. 

Can I sell my work?

Sales of works during the exhibition are permitted with 30% commission payable to the gallery. Artists whose work is for sale should list the price on the entry form.

Who runs the Scottish Portrait Awards?

The SPA competition is organised by the Scottish Arts Club Charitable Trust (SACCT) which is dedicated to the promotion of all forms of the arts in Scotland (see The SACCT is registered in Scotland as Charity No. SC044753. Registered Office 24, Rutland Square, Edinburgh EH1 2BW, UK. All funds raised, including from entry fees, are used to support the SPA prizes, promotion, or related education programmes. All SPA administration is at cost and supervisory support is entirely voluntary.