Entries are now open for the 17th annual SWELL Sculpture Festival with more $26,000 in prize money on offer, taking place from 13 to 22 September.

Queensland’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition has announced applications are officially open to International and Australian artists to exhibit at the upcoming SWELL Sculpture Festival. Now in its 17th year, the annual festival has evolved to be one of Australia’s most celebrated cultural events, attracting more than 275,000 visitors each year to the iconic shores of Currumbin Beach to enjoy the barefoot, open-air art experience.

The free 10-day outdoor exhibition will present the small, medium and large-scale sculpture installations and digital works from more than 50 artists from all over the world. SWELL Sculpture Festival co-founder and artistic director Natasha Edwards says the renowned exhibition enables artists to showcase their creations to an enthusiastic and captivated audience while presenting ideologies and social comment on issues in our society. “Each sculpture tells a story, and collectively these stories emanate the essence of SWELL,” says Edwards. “Audiences identify with the diversity of works presented and the artists who think differently about the world and challenge themselves through the presentation of meaningful sculptures and artistic commentary. We invite artists to be creatively bold and daring when putting together their submissions as we are seeking exhibits that not only connect people, art and place but also art that challenges the imaginations of our audience.”

With entries open until Monday 31 January, artists, art collectives and collaborators are encouraged to submit their proposals in order to be part of this iconic event. Successful applicants will be competing for their share of a coveted prize pool totaling $26,500, with the major award winner taking home a $15,000 cash prize.

In addition, each exhibiting artist is offered a $500 subsidy for creating their submission and unparalleled opportunities such as media profiles, the chance to establish new industry contacts, professional development, and the potential to sell and commission new works. SWELL welcomes the opportunity to work with artists who are keen to break new ground in sculpture presentation and installation art. Works can be site-specific, display ephemeral qualities and should invite dialogue and instigate inspired conversations through craftsmanship, kinetics, message or artistic quirkiness.

The 2018 recipient of the $15,000 Neumann Family SWELL Sculpture Award was awarded to Dion Parker and Andrew Cullen a 3.5 metre barbed wire sculpture named Prickles the unhuggable bear. The prestigious award confirms the Gold Coast local artists are recognised by industry experts for their sculptural accomplishments, motivating them to move to the next stage of professional development.

Artist submissions can comprise of completed works, works in progress or concepts. Artists can submit applications online.

Readers also enjoyed this story about last year’s Swell Festival.