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​If you are a collector who would like to offer works of art from your collection to the museum, please follow the guidelines below.

  • Please provide us with as much information as possible about the work, including artist, date, medium, size, and provenance information (history of ownership).

  • Please include an image of the work of art (or multiple images, if offering multiple works).

  • Please state explicitly if you are offering these works for loan (temporarily sharing them with the museum for display), for sale (please include your asking price and date by which you need a decision), or for donation.

  • Please note that the museum cannot identify, authenticate, or appraise your collection.

  • Send your material to the Seattle Art Museum Curatorial Department via email​, or to 1300 First Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101. Please note that the museum cannot return materials sent by mail.

Additional Information

  • The process of reviewing your images may take several weeks. It may not be possible to reply to every submission.

  • We cannot make studio visits, see the work in person, or make visits to private collections during the initial phase of the review. If there is sufficient interest from a curator, we will contact you about any further steps.


The Seattle Art Museum does not accept unsolicited submissions of art except through the Annual Betty Bowen Memorial Award Competition (see below).​​​​​​​​

the Betty Bowen Award

The annual Betty Bowen Award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. The winner is awarded an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000, and a selection of his or her works is shown at the Seattle Art Museum. In addition, two Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $2,500 are often granted at the discretion of the Betty Bowen Committee.

Betty Bowen (1918–1977) was a Washington native and enthusiastic supporter of Northwest artists. Her friends established the annual Betty Bowen Award as a celebration of her life and to honor and continue her efforts to provide financial support to the artists of the region. Since 1977, the Seattle Art Museum has hosted the yearly grant application process by which the Betty Bowen Committee chooses one visual artist working in the Northwest to receive the unrestricted cash award.

Who is eligible for the award?

Visual artists working in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho are encouraged to apply. Performing artists are not eligible.

How is the winner selected?

The jury is in two parts. In part one, five finalists are selected from among the pool of applicants. Finalists are then invited to present their work to the committee in person in the second round. All finalists are required to travel to Seattle to present their work, and are awarded an honorarium for related expenses. After this review process, the committee selects one award winner plus any special recognition award winners they wish to honor.

Selection is based on, but not limited to, the following perceptions:

  • The quality of the work submitted for review

  • The creativity and skill of the artist

  • The artist’s commitment to developing their work

  • The impact the award will have on the artist

  • How developed the artist is in their career

How do I apply?

The application becomes available in early summer here. There is a $10 application fee. All entries must be submitted online. Entries sent by standard mail will not be accepted. However, if you are an artist working in film or video, in addition to your online application you are required to send a DVD or VHS of the complete work to:

Betty Bowen Award/Call for Entry
c/o Modern and Contemporary Art Dept.
Seattle Art Museum
1300 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

When is the application due?

The deadline for submission every year is August 1. All applicants will be notified of the committee’s decisions by late September.

Current Winner​

Rothkos in Space, 2013, Ralph Pugay, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 in. Courtesy the artist and Upfor.

The 2014 Betty Bowen Award winner is Ralph Pugay. Pugay paints vignettes that seem humorous at first but address topics of anxiety, confusion, and misguided certainty. He characterizes the scenes in his works as “absurd situational narratives, constructed through the melding of incongruous symbols and ideas, where the mundane and fantastic converge”, creating allegories to engage contemporary modes of consciousness and morality. Describing the scenarios in his paintings as conceptual and linguistic “puzzles” to be unpacked, the humor and intentionally naïve approach of his paintings provide an entry point for a deeper expression of existential concerns on consciousness and the complexities of contemporary society.

Pugay received an M.F.A. in Contemporary Art Practice from Portland State University and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Recent exhibitions of his work include his solo show Crowdsurfer at Vox Populi, Philadelphia and FAB Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as group shows Portland2014: A Biennial of Contemporary Art at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, and A Light Spray at the Portland Museum of Modern Art. He is represented by Upfor Contemporary Art Gallery in Portland.

Gretchen Frances Bennett was selected to receive the Special Recognition Award in the amount of $2,500, and Klara Glosova was ​awarded the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award in the amount of $2,500. Bennett’s recent body of work Recording comprises writing and large-format color pencil drawings built on personal narrative and moments of daily life to demonstrate her interest in the heightened awareness of the body, as well as her ubiquitous 2004 Buick Century, as it exists in space.

In Glosova’s large watercolor paintings and ceramic sculptures in her body of work titled Life on the Sidelines, the subtle variations between the scenes of sideline spectators at youth soccer games retreat from the main action and suggest the passage of time from moment to moment. 

Both artists live and work in the Seattle area. The finalists for the 2014 award were Dawn Cerny (Seattle) and Peter Scherrer (Bellingham).

Betty Bowen Committee Members

Leo Berk
Jeffrey Bishop
Gary Glant (Chair)
Peggy Golberg
Anne Gould Hauberg
Mike Hess
Isaac Layman
Mark Levine
Catharina Manchanda (SAM’s Jon and Mary Shirley 
Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art)
Llewelyn Pritchard
Greg Robinson
Norie Sato
Bill True
Maggie Walker
Dan Webb
Tom Wilson
Merrill Wright

Past Winners

2013 ​Leo Berk, Grand Prize
2013 Sol Hashemi, Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award
2013 ​Jack Daws, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2012 ​Sarah Bergmann, Grand Prize
2011 Jenny Heishman, Grand Prize
2011 SuttonBeresCuller, Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award
2011 Lisa Liedgren, PONCHO Special Recognition Award​
2010 Ellen Lesperance, Grand Prize
2010 Barbara Sternberger, Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award
2010 Eli Hansen, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2009 Josh Faught, Grand Prize
2009 Matt Offenbacher, Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award
2009 Jenny Heishman, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2008 Isaac Layman, Grand Prize
2008 Eric Elliott, Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award
2008 Wynne Greenwood, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2007 Oscar Tuazon, Grand Prize
2007 Joseph Park, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2007 Vanessa Renwick, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2006 Margie Livingston, Grand Prize
2006 Emily Gh​erard, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2006 Mary Simpson, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2005 Marie Watt, Grand Prize
2005 Evan Blackwell, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2005 David Russo, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2004 Victoria Haven, Grand Prize
2004 Timothy Foss, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2003 Dan Webb, Grand Prize
2003 Rachel Moore, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2002 Ross Palmer Beecher, Grand Prize
2002 Buster Simpson​, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2002 Michael Rathbun, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2001 Brian Murphy, Grand Prize
2001 Hildur Bjarnadottir, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2001 Jaq Chartier, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2000 Iole Alessandrini, Grand Prize
2000 Eric Bashor, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2000 Lauren Grossman, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
2000 Victoria Haven, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1999 Ford Gilbreath, Grand Prize
1999 Jennifer Dixon, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1998 Michael Howard, Grand Prize
1998 Erik Geschke, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1998 Kevin Kadar, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1997 Cathy McClure, Grand Prize
1997 David K. Chatt, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1997 Mary K. Guth, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1997 Robert M. Plogman, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1996 Henry DePosit, Grand Prize
1996 Daniel Mihalyo, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1996 Jeffrey Simmons, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1996 Robert Yoder, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1995 Lanny Bergner, Grand Prize
1995 Michael Knutsen, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1995 Dan Webb, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1995 Kumi Yamashita, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1994 Collin Shutz, Grand Prize
1994 Judy Allen, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1994 Erick Stotik, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1993 Ingrid Lahti, Grand Prize
1993 Pamela Gazale, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1993 Josiah McElheny, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1992 Amanda Fin, Grand Prize
1992 Luke Blackstone, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1991 Mark Fuller, Grand Prize
1991 James Lavadour, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1990 Cris Bruch, Grand Prize
1990 Rick Bartow, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1990 Margi Beyers, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1990 Claudia Fitch, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1989 Ken Kelly, Grand Prize
1989 Steven​ Engle, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1989 Mark Fuller, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1989 Shelley Moore, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1988 Nancy Mee, Grand Prize
1988 Jack Chevalier, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1988 Alfred Harris, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1988 Barbara Noah, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1987 George Chacona, Grand Prize
1987 Gayle Bard, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1987 Susan Bennerstrom, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1987 Peter Millett, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1987 Ed Musante, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1987 Selene Santucci, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1986 Mark Calderon, Grand Prize
1985 Debra Sherwood, Grand Prize
1984 Randy Hayes, Grand Prize
1983 Norie Sato, Grand Prize
1982 Jeffrey Bishop, Grand Prize
1981 Joan Stuart Ross, Grand Prize
1980 Joseph Goldberg, Grand Prize
1980 Leo Kenney, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1980 Charles Stokes, PONCHO Special Recognition Award
1979 Charles Stokes, Grand Prize​​​​​​​​​​​

2014 WInner

Ralph Pugay​​​​​

Learn More

For more information about the Betty Bowen Award, please email us.​​​​

the Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence Prize

The Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize was created by artist Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence to provide inspiration for young artists and scholarship in the field of art history, especially as it pertains to the artistic and cultural life of black artists, both of which were important to Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence. Funding is provided by the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Endowment. In selecting artists to receive the prize​, emphasis is placed on individuals whose original work reflects the Lawrences' concern for artistic excellence, education, mentorship,​ and scholarship within the cultural contexts and value systems that informed their work and the work of other artists of color. The Seattle Art Museum’s Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize is awarded biannually to an early career black (not necessarily African American) artist—an individual who has been producing work for less than 10 years. The selected artist is honored with a one-person exhibition in SAM’s Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence Gallery and receives a $10,000 award to further his or her artistic practice. ​​