Archibald Prize 2016 winner
Archibald Prize 2016 winner "Barry" by Louise Hearman. The winner and finalists from the 2017 competition will arrive at the Grafton Regional Gallery in early 2018. LOUISE HEARMAN

Archibald Prize heading to Grafton Regional Gallery

THE rockstar of art prizes is heading to the Clarence Valley.

The 2017 Archibald tour will arrive at the Grafton Regional Gallery in early 2018.

The winner and finalists of the $100,000 portrait prize will be announced in July this year and after a run at its homebase of Art Gallery of NSW it will hit the road and fill the walls of a select few regional galleries.

The last time the Archibald was exhibited in Grafton was 2012.

Gallery director Jude McBean said it was great news for the Clarence Valley.

"It's a very competitive process to secure the Archibald. They only tour to five venues in NSW and five in Victoria. There are 40 galleries in NSW all vying for it so it's pretty hard to get hold of."

Ms McBean said the gallery will be especially opening on Sundays to cater for the increased visitation the exhibition will bring.

"Everyone gets pretty excited about the Archibald. It's lots of fun because of its public profile. Everyone knows about it and people seem to love portraiture."

The exhibition is not only big in reputation it's also large size-wise given some of the enormous proportions of finalists' works over the years.

The Grafton Regional Gallery will be giving over its main gallery space and loft gallery to cater for the larger works and extensive number of finalists.

"It will be a tight squeeze but we will use every inch of available space."

Ms McBean there are a host of events planned around the Archibald including a gala opening, Packer's and People's Choice prizes, a Young Archie exhibition, children's trails, guided and wifi tours.

"Hopefully either the winner or one of the finalists will also come along to do a floor talk."

Ms McBean said people came from all around the area to see an exhibition of this calibre which was great news for the Clarence Valley economy.

"We get quite a few visitors throughout the North Coast and New England and from South East Queensland. A lot of people can't get down to Sydney to see it so they drive down here and do an overnight stay. It's also a lot more accessible in a regional area than it is in Sydney."

  • The 2017 Archibald Prize arrives at the Grafton Regional Gallery on February 2, 2018 and closes on March 18.


The Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921, making it one of Australia's oldest and most prestigious art awards. In establishing the prize, JF Archibald's aim was to foster portraiture as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. Over the years some of Australia's most prominent artists have entered and the subjects have been equally celebrated in their fields.

Judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW and awarded to the best portrait painting, the Archibald Prize exhibition is a who's who of Australian culture - from politicians to celebrities, sporting heroes to artists.

Entries are now open for the 2017 prize and close with the delivery of the entry on July 7, 2017. The finalists of the 2017 Archibald Prize are announced on July 20, the winner on July 28. The exhibition opens on July 29 and continues at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until October 22 before heading out to regional venues.

  • The Archibald Prize regional tour is an Art Gallery of New South Wales touring exhibition. Presenting partner ANZ.

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