Cosmos and Critters

Cosmos and Critters
Illustration from The Worst Band in the Universe by Graeme Base.

Cosmos and Critters

Youth Art Prize

Entries close midnight Monday 8 November 2021

Online exhibition: 26 November 2021 – 6 February 2022

Calling all young, creative explorers! Travel your imaginations and bring to life other worlds, distant universes and their inhabitants for the Cosmos and Critters Youth Art Prize!

When the current lockdown meteor shower calms, you can disembark to celebrate the work of famed children’s author and illustrator Graeme Base in person at Belconnen Arts Centre. In preparation, we invite you to send us your otherworldly artworks that have been inspired by the universe of Graeme Base.

The Cosmos and Critters exhibition will be online, so you should submit images of 2D artworks only, be they drawing, painting, printmaking or digital. There are no limits on how you can depict your imagined worlds or the critters who inhabit them. Now is the perfect time to escape to other worlds!

It is FREE to enter the Cosmos and Critters exhibition. Just fill in the entry form below and send us a good quality digital image of your artwork. For the online exhibition, you will be deployed into age squads of 5-8 years, 9-12 years and 13-17 years, with each group eligible for a People’s Choice Award (details below):

5-8 year squadron
$50 People’s Choice Award

9-12 year squadron
$75 People’s Choice Award

13-17 year squadron
$100 People’s Choice Award

We aim to include all submitted artworks in the online exhibition. If you’re not sure how to take a good photo of your artwork, read over the quick guide below to make sure you send us the best image possible.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Monika McInerney, Artistic Director & Co-CEO at

How to photograph your works for an online exhibition

Clean your smartphone or camera lens before you start photographing; fingerprints or dust on the lens will make the images appear foggy or blurry.

Find a plain background to photograph your works against, such as a white wall.

Make sure the artwork is lit as evenly as possible. The lighting should be soft, like how it appears on a cloudy day. Avoid casting heavy shadows or creating reflections on your artwork, and don’t photograph the work with light coming from behind it.

Keep your artwork and camera level with each other. Try to keep the camera as steady as possible as you photograph; you can use a chair or table as a makeshift tripod if you need to. You want to photograph your work from directly in front, not off to the side or from an angle that distorts it.

Make the file name for each image the title of your artwork, followed by your initials (i.e. Sunflowers – VVG). This can be difficult to do using only a smartphone or iPad, so we recommend doing so on a laptop or desktop computer, if possible.

Submit your entry here

Conditions of entry

  • Entries close midnight Monday 8 November 2021.
  • Young people aged from 5-17 years from throughout Australia may enter works. Entrants will only be identified by their first name online.
  • You may enter up to a maximum of three works; for multiple entries, each entry will be considered as an individual work, not a series.
  • It is FREE to enter. Artworks do not need to be physically sent or delivered to Belconnen Arts Centre.
  • Works must relate to the theme, be the original work of the entering artist and have been created within the last year.
  • Works may be in any 2D medium (i.e. drawing, painting, printmaking or digital). Works can be landscape or portrait in orientation.
  • The works must not be offensive, discriminatory, or otherwise hurtful in nature. Works that are considered offensive, discriminatory, or otherwise hurtful in nature will not be displayed. Belco Arts reserves the right not to exhibit works.
  • Permission must be given to include images of works in the online exhibition and for the purposes of display, publicity and in promotional materials.
  • All works will be eligible for selection in their respective squadron’s People’s Choice Award, which will be announced on 1 February 2022.

Supported by the ACT Government, the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature and Libraries ACT.



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National Centre for Australian Children's Literature


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