About the Neddy
The Neddy Artist Award is one of the most generous and longest-running awards for visual artists in the State of Washington, providing two annual gifts of $25,000, and six awards of $2,000, to artists living and working in the Puget Sound region. The program began in 1996 and is funded by the Behnke Foundation as a tribute to the life and work of Seattle painter and teacher Robert E. [Ned] Behnke (1948-1989).
In 2011, Cornish College of the Arts gained stewardship of the Neddy. Cornish prepares its students to contribute to society as artists, citizens, and innovators. The Neddy is a beacon of this mission.
Cornish especially thanks Ned’s mother, Sally Skinner Behnke, in memoriam, for spearheading this vital program to Cornish as part of her legacy, continuing the investment of her grandmother in the founding of the College.
Annually, all recipients and finalists are showcased in a much-anticipated exhibition on June 3 – Ned Behnke’s birthday. The Behnke Family Gallery, gifted by Carl and Renee Behnke, and Marisa and Merrill Behnke, opened its doors in 2022 and will continue to house this exhibition for years to come. The Behnke Family Gallery is located in South Lake Union on the Cornish College of the Arts campus.
Photo credit (banner photo): Ned Behnke. The Table With The Mirror, 1980. Acrylic on canvas.
Photo by Winifred Westergard.
The criteria for the Neddy award is:
- Artistic excellence and demonstrated commitment to and development of work over time.
- Demonstrated engagement, broadly understood, with the world through art.
The annually selected Neddy awardees in Painting and Open Medium demonstrate artistic excellence and a commitment to and ongoing development of their work over time. In honor of Ned and his passion for painting, four awards are given to artists who identify their work in terms of Painting, whether traditional or newer interpretations of the medium. Reflecting the ever-increasing possibilities in contemporary art practices, the four Open Medium awards honor artists that work in any medium or combination of media grounded in the visual arts. Of these eight artists, one grand-prize awardee will be selected from each category as someone who notably excels in these criteria, by judgement of the annual National Juror.
Ned Behnke embodied Cornish College of the Art’s mission of developing artists as citizens—individuals who aim for artistic excellence and an applied consciousness of responsibility to society. As the awards honor Ned’s legacy, Neddy recipients will reflect and embody his belief in the power of art and artists to be positive forces in our world.
Artists may apply to the Neddy Artist Awards program if they meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Artists must be full-time residents of Washington State, residing in the greater Puget Sound region (Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Skagit, San Juan, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom counties) and must be permanent residents of the United States.
- Artists must be 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
- Applicants must be practicing artists who demonstrate a pattern of producing work.
- Artists must NOT be previous grand-prize recipients of the award.
- Previous finalists are eligible AFTER A ONE-YEAR HIATUS.
- Artists must NOT be full-time core faculty or a trustee at Cornish College of the Arts.
- Students currently enrolled in either undergraduate or graduate degree programs at the time of application are NOT eligible.*
- *Those who have completed all degree requirements at the time of application, but have yet to matriculate may be eligible pending verification.
- Artists must be available on the dates of National Juror visit and Interview/Video production, otherwise the award goes to an alternate. These dates will be provided at the time the finalists are contacted to ascertain their availability. As much as possible we try to accommodate finalists’ schedules with these engagements.
Please contact us at email@example.com with questions about eligibility.
The Neddy Artist Award Application is FREE. Through our application on Submittable, you will confirm your eligibility, select your application category (Painting or Open Medium), and then submit:
- 12 to 15 samples of your work.
- A resume or CV.
- A short artist biography -- about 150 to 200 words.
- Two short answer questions.
Applications sent by mail, submitted in person, or arriving late or incomplete will not be considered. Incomplete applications or applications with unmet requirements will not be considered. You will be contacted if your application needs revisions.
Applicants complete the FREE, online Submittable application by the application deadline. After all applications are received, an annually rotating panel of three regional arts professionals: our “Local Jurors” will review all applications and select a total of eight artists as finalists for the Neddy awards. They decide on four artists in the Painting category and four artists in the Open Medium category. These eight artists will be contacted, their availability for mandatory program engagements will be confirmed, and the announcement will be made publicly by Cornish College of the Arts. All eight Neddy “Finalists” participate in engagements with the Neddy Artist Award program, and may be able to engage with Cornish College of the Arts through programs to connect with faculty and students. All eight finalists have individual studio visits with a nationally-known curator or arts professional from outside the region: our “National Juror." The National Juror will select one finalist in each category as Neddy Grand Prize Award Recipients. The Neddy Grand Prize Recipients and Finalists will be notified of this decision by telephone within two weeks of the National Juror’s studio visit. All eight artists work with the Neddy team to participate in an annual exhibition celebrating their work and reception of Neddy awards.
Artists selected to receive a Neddy award will get:
- 6 artists of Finalist status receive an award of $2,000.00 EACH, in unrestricted funds.
- 2 artists of Grand Prize Award Recipient status receive an award of $25,000.00 EACH, in unrestricted funds.
- Publicity of artwork, name, bio, and information about them on Cornish College of the Arts social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo, and the Neddy Artist Awards Webpage.
- A studio visit with our annually selected Curator.
- A studio visit with our annually selected National Juror.
- Digital files of your individual, short-promotional video clip.
- Digital files of your individual, long-form video of your art, studio practice, and interview with our Curator.
- Hard copies of any printed materials such as exhibition posters and postcard invitations.
- Hard copies of our annual exhibition catalog which reviews your year’s Neddy Artist Awards team, your work, and your fellow finalists.
- Optional opportunities to engage with Cornish College of the Arts faculty and students through programming with the Art Department.
- An exhibition equally featuring and celebrating all eight Neddy finalists for your year.
- Meet the Behnke Family! Each year, finalists are provided with an opportunity to meet the Award Founders for an evening of socializing and home-cooked food.
- New connections! You will get to meet and work with our annually rotating team, and meet and engage with your fellow Neddy award Finalists.
- The Neddy is a prestigious award, one of the largest unrestricted cash awards in the State of Washington, and now running for a quarter of a decade. Regardless of Finalist or Grand-prize recipient status, you are joining the ranks of highly celebrated and honored artists, recognized for their hard work and excellent art practice in this regional community.
Artists selected to receive a Neddy award are expected to:
- Complete a virtual “Finalist Packet” which confirms relevant information about yourself, your art practice, and what we need to know about you.
- Share relevant images, documents, and information in order to promote you and your work, if different from that submitted in your application.
- Confirm your availability through the Finalist Packet for mandatory program engagements such as the Studio Visit and Interview filming with our Curator and Videographer, National Juror studio visit, and Behnke Family Dinner.
- Participate in a Filmed Interview led by the Curator and Filmed by our Videographer at a workspace, studio, home, gallery, or location of your choosing that supports your art practice. Participate in a Studio Visit with our Curator and Videographer, at previously mentioned location, approximately 1.5-3 hours, or as agreed upon by all involved parties.
- Participate in the National Juror studio visit which is used to determine the two grand-prize winners of the award. The visit lasts approximately 60-90 minutes each.
- Participate in the annual Neddy exhibition featuring all eight artists' works represented equally. Pieces are agreed upon between the artist and the Curator for the required exhibition dates.
- Complete the post-Neddy survey reviewing your experience with the program, sharing any considerations to help us continue to improve the experience for all artists, reach any organizations you think should know about the program, and suggest any future team members for the program to consider. We encourage all past finalists and awardees to please chime in to help us spread the word about the program, and make suggestions! Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to hear from you!
Artists may apply for the Neddy Artist Awards program if they meet the following eligibility requirements: Artists must be full-time residents of Washington State, residing in the greater Puget Sound region (Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Skagit, San Juan, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties) and must be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. Artists must be at least 18 years of age at the time of application. Artists must be currently active in their practice, demonstrating an ongoing pattern of producing and presenting work. Artists must NOT be previous recipients of the award. Neddy finalists may reapply after a one-year hiatus Artists must NOT be full-time core faculty or a trustee at Cornish of the Arts. Students currently enrolled in either undergraduate or graduate degree programs at the time of application are NOT eligible. Students who have completed all degree requirements at the time of application, but have yet to matriculate may be eligible pending verification. Please contact email@example.com for more information. Artists must be available on the dates of curator studio visit/video production and the national juror visit, otherwise the award goes to an alternate. Studio visit dates will be provided at the time the finalists are contacted to ascertain their availability.