Application Guidelines

Please check back in April 2018 for an update on the 2018 application.


Neddy Artist Awards is an annual Puget Sound regional artist award program supported by the Behnke Foundation and stewarded by Cornish College of the Arts as a tribute to Seattle painter and educator Ned Behnke (1948-1989). Each year, two $25,000 unrestricted awards are given—one in painting and one in any medium or combination of media grounded in the visual arts (referred to as "Open Medium")—to professional artists living and working in the greater Puget Sound region. Six finalists will also receive $1,500.


There are two Neddy Artist Awards each year, one in Painting and the other in Open Medium. Recipients will demonstrate artistic distinction through an established body of work and a commitment to their practice. In honor of Ned and his passion for painting, the Neddy Artist Award in painting category celebrates artists that continue to innovate through this traditional medium. Reflecting the ever-increasing possibilities in contemporary art practices, the Neddy Artist Award in Open Medium honors artists that work in any medium or combination of media grounded in the visual arts. Ned Behnke embodied Cornish College of the Art’s mission of developing artists as citizens—individuals who create outstanding artwork with an applied consciousness of responsibility to society. As the awards honor Ned’s legacy, Neddy Artist Award recipients will reflect and embody his belief in the power of art and artists to be positive forces in our world. The criteria for both awards are:

  1. Demonstrated commitment to and ongoing development of one’s artistic vision
  2. Demonstrated engagement with the world through art practice, broadly understood


All applications must be submitted online at The CaFÉ website will guide applicants through the submission process. Applications sent by mail, submitted in person, or arriving late or incomplete will not be considered.

In addition to submitting 10 - 15 jpegs, you are asked to answer the following:

  1. The Neddy Artist Awards supports artists whose work fosters awareness or reflects on aspects of our world. Describe how your artistic practice engages with your community, broadly understood. Please limit your response to 250 words.
  2. What would a Neddy Artist Award mean to you at this particular juncture in your artistic career? In short: why you, why now? Please limit your response to 150 words.
  3. (Optional) What would you like to tell us that cannot be conveyed in your work samples or your responses to the previous questions? For example, use this space to elaborate on aspects of your work that might be difficult for the jurors to discern from the samples provided. Please limit your response to 150 words.


Artists who apply for a Neddy Artist Award must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be U.S. citizens and 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)
  • Be 18 years of age or older during the time of application
  • Be currently active, demonstrating an ongoing pattern of 
producing and presenting work
  • Previous Neddy Artist Awardees of the $25,000 prize are ineligible to reapply. Previous Neddy Artist Finalists, recipients of the $1,500 prize, are eligible to reapply after a one-year hiatus
  • Students currently enrolled in either undergraduate or graduate degree programs at the 
time of application are ineligible. Those who have completed all degree requirements at the time of application, but have yet to matriculate may be eligible pending verification. Please contact program staff for more information.
  • Cornish College of the Arts full-time core faculty and trustees are ineligible.
  • Any questions please contact


Applicants must fulfill the online application requirements (visit for details on image/file preparation and other submission information) by the application deadline. 
A panel of three regional arts professionals review all applications and select four artists in two categories (PAINTING and OPEN MEDIUM), for a total of eight finalists. From this pool of eight finalists, a single national juror from outside the region reviews each application packet and visits each artist's studio, ultimately selecting one artist in each category to receive the $25,000 award. The Neddy program director notifies all award recipients by telephone.

  • Two Neddy Artist Award recipients each receive $25,000
  • Six Neddy Artist Award finalists each receive $1,500
  • A short documentary video is produced for each of the 8 artists


Please check back in April 2018 for an update.


Neddy award offers unrestricted $25,000 awards to artists who demonstrate a distinctive artistic practice or perspective and who engage with the community at large. To deepen the educational impact of these awards, Cornish College of the Arts is excited to undertake a year-long series of events and activities to honor and support the work of the recipients. including, where feasible, making material resources available to the artists. In consultation with the Program staff, the 2017 Neddy artists will develop educational programs that relate to the artists' interests. Programming possibilities include, but are not limited to artist talks, studio visits, student critiques, panel discussions, and exhibitions. In addition to these programs, the College hosts an annual Robert E. “Ned” Behnke Lecture, inviting an artist or scholar of stature to a Seattle venue for a talk and discussion of timely issues relevant to the mission of the Neddy Artist Awards.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the application process at email