SALA Awards

Each year SALA has a number of awards available to artists, venues and curators participating in the Festival. Scroll down to see the list of SALA Awards for 2021. To see the award winners from previous years, please see the Past Awards page. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Awards open Monday, 1 March 2021 and most awards close Wednesday, 19 May 2021. 

Once you have registered an exhibition or event in SALA 2021, head to the SALA Online Portal to submit an award nomination form.

Artists, curators and venues that are participating in a registered SALA exhibition/event are encouraged to self-nominate for the SALA Awards. Nominations will also be accepted from someone representing the nominee (a curator, carer, or friend) who can fill out the form on their behalf. In either case, an Awards nomination form will need to be submitted via the SALA Online Portal.

For most of the SALA Awards, the first round of judging is based on the nomination form and yields a selection of finalists. All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application via the email address provided in the form.

The next round of judging is based on real-life visits to finalists’ exhibitions where possible. Judges will visit the exhibition that corresponds to the registration ID number provided in the nomination form, so it is important that nominees in multiple exhibitions pay careful attention to which registration ID they provide.

Most award winners are announced at the conclusion of the Festival.

The registration ID number that you provide in the award nomination form will determine which exhibition the judges will visit if you are a finalist. Please provide the registration ID number that corresponds with the exhibition containing the artwork referred to in your award nomination form.

Unless specified otherwise, the images that you upload into the award nomination form should be of one artwork. One image should be of the whole artwork, and any other images can show close-up details, texture, or alternative angles of the work.

Yes, the artwork in your award nomination form should be the artwork on display at your exhibition, or as near as possible for work that is incomplete at the time of application.

The artwork that you submit in the award nomination form should be made since the last SALA Festival (August 2020). If your exhibition contains a mix of old and new work, only the new work can be submitted in the awards.

Most of the SALA Awards aim to recognise excellence in an individual artwork.
If an artwork is created by two or more artists working in collaboration, that artwork is eligible for the SALA Awards. However, a group of artists creating individual works for a group exhibition will need to nominate their works individually for the SALA Awards.


Curators of group exhibitions are encouraged to nominate for the City of Onkaparinga Contemporary Curator Award (as are curators of solo exhibitions).

An artist statement is about your art and the current themes, concepts and materials present in the work. It may be written in first or third person.

An artist biography can be described as a resume in paragraph form. It details things like relevant study and your top achievements.

Judging visits are not disclosed to nominees, so it is imperative that any changes to exhibition opening times are communicated with the SALA team via phone or email as soon as you become aware of them. Judging cannot be guaranteed when details of the registration change.

2021 SALA Awards

City of Adelaide Incubator Award

The City of Adelaide Incubator Award recognises an artist whose work explores and/or celebrates the experience of the City. The award welcomes work that reflects Adelaide’s Dynamic City Culture, a city that celebrates diverse community, culture, and creativity.  Artwork that reveals Adelaide as a must visit destination, renowned for its playful, thought provoking, and world class art experiences will be preferred.

This award is open to artists at any stage of their career, working in any medium.

The prize consists of $7,000 with the winner required to participate in one public program at the City Library before SALA Festival 2022, sharing with the community their creative practice and how it has evolved as a result of the award.

To enter, upload up to 4 images and/or a link to video work via the SALA Online Portal, your CV, and a brief statement that explains your work’s connection to the City and proposing how you intend to use the award to develop, extend and amplify your practice. Finalists will be determined by a panel of judges based on the award nomination forms submitted and announced in July 2021. The winner will be determined during the Festival and announced at the conclusion of SALA 2021.

Unitcare Services Digital Media Award

This award seeks to encourage experimentation in new media and is for artists working in digital art including computer, moving image, virtual, interactive, sound, and internet platforms.

Prize: $5,000 cash.

To enter, upload a brief artist statement and a link to your digital work via the SALA Online Portal. Finalists will be determined prior to the Festival based on the work supplied in the nomination form. Judging of the finalist artwork will take place during SALA 2021 and the winner will be announced at the conclusion of the SALA 2021.

City Rural Emerging Artist Award

For artists in the early stages of their career with under five years’ professional experience.
Prize consists of $2,500 cash.

To enter, complete an award nomination form via the SALA Online Portal. Upload up to 2 images of a single artwork and provide a statement about your work and background as an artist. Finalists will be determined from the nomination forms and announced in July. Judging of finalist artworks will take place during the 2021 SALA Festival and the winner will be announced at the conclusion of the Festival. 

City of Unley Active Ageing award

For artists over the age of 60 to celebrate the City of Unley’s involvement with SALA and its commitment to promoting and supporting an active ageing approach. Prize consists of $2,000 cash and an exhibition space in Unley for SALA 2022.

To enter, complete an award nomination form via the SALA Online Portal, providing 2 images of a single artwork and a statement about your work. Finalists will be chosen based on the images uploaded and will be announced in July. Judging of the award will take place during the 2021 SALA Festival and the winner will be announced at the conclusion of the Festival.

The Advertiser Tertiary Art Student Award

More information to come. 

Award closes Wednesday, 19 May 2021. 

Don Dunstan Foundation Award

For artists whose work explores social justice themes which align with the objectives and priorities of the Don Dunstan Foundation including homelessness; mental health; migration (including cultural and ethnic diversity); economic equality and justice; Aboriginal economic empowerment and reconciliation; human rights; or Don Dunstan himself. 

Prize is $1,000 cash.

To enter, complete an award nomination form via the SALA Online Portal. Upload 2 images of one of your artworks, a brief artist biography and outline how your work relates to the themes of the Don Dunstan Foundation. Finalists will be determined prior to the Festival by panel of judges based on the award nomination forms. The finalists will be announced in July. Judging of the award will take place during the 2021 SALA Festival and the winner will be announced at the conclusion of the Festival.

City of Onkaparinga Contemporary Curator Award

For contemporary curators to foster and support curatorial practice within the City of Onkaparinga. The award is open to emergent or established curators. 

Prize: $1000 plus a supported opportunity to curate a [GRAFTd] exhibition at Sauerbier House during SALA 2022.

To enter, complete an award nomination form via the SALA Online Portal. Here you will be asked to submit information about your 2021 SALA exhibition (artists’ names, choice of venue, disciplines, images of the contributing artists’ work, a 300-word exhibition rationale/statement including installation description).

Finalists will be determined prior to the Festival from the award nominations forms and announced in July. The winner will be determined by a panel of judges during the Festival and announced at the conclusion of SALA 2021.

For further information about this award please visit:
www.onkaparingacity.com/SALAcuratoraward

Hither & Yon Venue AwardS

For venues, including online, who have exceeded expectations in supporting artists exhibiting during SALA Festival 2021. This can be in areas such as installation support, promotion of the artist, community engagement, visitor experience, and more. Two winners will receive a prize consisting of $1,000 each.


To enter, nominees must upload statements and supporting images explaining how their venue has gone above and beyond this SALA Festival in supporting their exhibiting artists. Entries will be taken via the SALA Online Portal. Judging of the award will take place at the conclusion of SALA Festival 2021 with the two winners announced shortly after.

Credit Union SA School Awards

To support and celebrate visual art in schools, Credit Union SA will be awarding cash prizes for outstanding SALA Festival school exhibitions.

The winning schools will receive a $2,500 prize and ‘runner-up’ schools will receive a $1,000 prize.

The awards will be judged during SALA Festival and the winners will be announced at a special school ceremony in September 2021.

Best of all, schools registered for SALA Festival 2021 are automatically entered in this award – so there’s no extra paperwork to do!