Project X, Photography Award

Deadline: February 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm.

Ottawa Arts Council and SPAO logosThe Ottawa Arts Council and the former Festival X partnered to establish the Project X, Photography Award to promote and foster photographic excellence in Ottawa. Moving forward, SPAO will be partnering with the Ottawa Arts Council in order to enhance the award’s impact and extend its longevity, in addition to introducing an independent jury comprised of members from the visual art and photographic community. The award now recognize the merits of a publicly presented photographic project by an Ottawa-based artist.

The award recipient will receive a presenting opportunity at a prominent local venue as well as a prize valued at $2,000—a $1,000 honourarium and a $1,000 bursary towards SPAO classes or residency program.

About SPAO

SPAO is an independent, charitable, not-for-profit photographic visual arts institution operating the only 2-year photographic arts diploma program in Canada. SPAO cultivates a community of distinct artistic vision, critical dialogue and technical expertise in the photographic arts through exhibition, partnerships and education.

"Pippa, Long Exposure on Polaroid 01" by Gary FranksGary Franks

2019 Project X, Photography Fund Recipient

Paralanguage is a print exhibition of long-exposure Polaroid portraits, capturing and celebrating the transitory voices that make up Ottawa’s vibrant arts communities. The project seeks to present small, oft-forgotten moments of community and creation in a growing, changing city. Each choice is designed to thematically represent the transitory nature of the subjects - in their actions and how they are remembered in the creative communities they have helped develop.

More past recipients

How to Apply

An individual may apply for the award by filling out this form and gathering the required supporting documents. The completed package should be submitted to via, before the deadline.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants for this award must

  • Nominate their own project for consideration or have their project nominated by an individual or group who may only endorse one applicant in each category per year.
  • Demonstrate an ongoing connection to Ottawa which may include an Ottawa based artistic practice or residing in the National Capital Region (defined as 75 km from Parliament Hill).
  • Be recognized by artists working in the same artistic discipline and have a history of public presentations or publications.
  • Not have previously received this award.

Evaluation Criteria

  • The artistic or innovative merit of the project.
  • The applicant demonstrates involvement in Ottawa’s arts community.
  • The applicant demonstrates a commitment to further artistic career development.

Support Documents

These documents will help the jury better understand your project and your artistic practice.

The Applications and Support Documents must be submitted via to Incomplete or late packages will not be reviewed by the jury.

Please include the following documents 12 pt font in the application:

  • Artist Statement
    A text of up to two pages that explains the nominee’s project and art practice.
  • Artist’s CV
    A CV of up to three pages that demonstrates the nominee’s achievements as an artist, their participation in art projects (such as exhibitions, guest lectures, published works, etc.), and their formal or informal training.
  • Letters of Support
    Include between one and three single page letters of support from fellow practitioners or relevant organizations.
  • Support Materials
    Include up to 10 pieces of support material that is appropriate to your artistic practice and strengthens your application. Be sure to fill out the Support Materials List for any materials included in the application. Your support materials can include any combination of the following up to a total of 10 pieces:
    • Images
      Up to 10 JPGs, at least 1920x1080 px, no more than 5 MB per file. 
    • Video
      Up to 3 files (or links), 3 minutes each or a maximum total running time of 9 minutes.
    • Book Art
      1 PDF file containing a maximum of 10 pages may be substituted in place of 10 individual images. The PDF file should be no more than 10 MB in size.
  • NB: for book based projects, the jury may request that a copy of the final book be made available for their review in the weeks following the deadline. Applicants are responsible for the delivery and return of their books.


Download the Application Form

Please use Adobe Acrobat to complete the PDF form