Artists and curators cannot apply for these awards. An expert jury of arts professionals from across the country draws up the list of candidates and chooses the award recipients.
Both prizes are awarded each year and a person may receive the award only once. Eligible categories in the visual arts include painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, photography, three-dimensional installations and multi-media installations. Candidates must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Candidates for the artists’ award are identified on the basis of excellence in a substantial body of work as reflected in peer group assessments, significant acquisitions and solo exhibitions in professional exhibition facilities. Candidates for the curators’ award will have demonstrated exceptional support for innovative artistic expression through the creation of a significant number of important exhibitions which, through their vision, presentation and documentation advance Canadians’ awareness and appreciation of contemporary visual art. Independent curators, as well as those working within an institutional context, are eligible.