Calling All Artists!

The 2019 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition call for entries is open through Labor Day

The National Portrait Gallery’s triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is accepting entries until Labor Day (September 3, 2018). Artists living and working in the United States, Guam or Puerto Rico, who are 18 years of age or older, can submit their entries at If you are an art worker, now is the time for you to enter the competition or help spread the word far and wide to individual artists, artist groups, art schools and artistic communities. The National Portrait Gallery relies on colleagues and friends in different areas of the country and working with diverse communities, to host a competition that truly represents the many cultural and regional populations whom the resulting exhibition should encompass.

Four portraits from the competition
Left to right: Leslie, Thank You for Teaching Me "Phantasmagoria" / Naoko Wowsugi / Inkjet print on canvas, antique frame, and plaque / 2013 / Collection of the artist / © Naoko Wowsugi  |  Eugene #4 / Joel Daniel Phillips / Charcoal and graphite on paper / 2014 / Ken Stone / © Joel Daniel Phillips  |  Sedrick, Sed, Daddy / Sedrick Huckaby / Oil on canvas / 2014 / Beverly and George Palmer; courtesy of Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden, Dallas, Texas / © Sedrick Huckaby  |   Haints at Swamp II. / Allison Janae Hamilton / C-print / 2014 / Collection of the artist / © Allison Janae Hamilton.

The 5th Outwin Boochever Competition will focus on broadening the definition of portraiture while highlighting the genre’s relevance in contemporary art and culture. Guest jurors for the 2019 competition are Harry Gamboa Jr., essayist, photographer, performance artist and founding member of the Chicano collective Asco (residing in Los Angeles, California); Lauren Haynes, curator of contemporary art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; Byron Kim, artist and senior critic at Yale University School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut (residing in Brooklyn, New York); and Jefferson Pinder, artist and professor of sculpture and contemporary practices at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. National Portrait Gallery members of the jury include Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator; Taína Caragol, curator of painting and sculpture and curator of Latino art and history; and I, Dorothy Moss, serve on the jury as curator of painting and sculpture and director of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.

installation of portraits in the competition
Thank You for Teaching Me English / Naoko Wowsugi / Inkjet prints on canvas, antique frames, and plaque / 2013 / Collection of the artist / Photo by Matailong Du

In my view, the Competition’s resulting exhibition is one of the Portrait Gallery’s most exciting programs because it provides artists with a platform to address the most urgent issues of our day through portraiture in its broadest sense. All work that is submitted must have been created after January 1, 2016. The result is a vibrant, multimedia exhibition that is truly a snapshot of our current times. Be a part of that history by entering the Competition or encouraging other artists to enter. As the 2016 first prize winner, Amy Sherald, who was commissioned to paint Michelle Obama’s official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery, said of the entry fee: “It was the best $50 I ever spent.”

Portrait competition installation
Caja De Memoria Viva II: Constancia Clemente-Colon / Adrián Román / 2013 / Collection of the artist / © Adrián Román / Photo by Matailong Du