Call for Artists: Thomas Hart Benton Competition

Thomas Hart Bentong

Neosho Arts Council is pleased to present the 23rd Annual Thomas Hart Benton Art Competition and Exhibition. Works will be displayed at the Big Spring Gallery inside the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce.  Artists are eligible to enter in either the "Emerging" category or "Professional" category. The "Emerging" category is for artists who are students or who are not represented by galleries or have held professional exhibitions. The "Professional" category is open to all artists. Emerging artists who win First Place or Best of Show previously in this competition will be considered Professional Division entrants thereafter. All entries must be original works by the artist, not previously entered in this competition or shown at the Big Spring Gallery, and completed in the past three years.

Open to artists 18 years of age and older | Emerging or Professional
Media: Open to original 2D works including painting, drawing, printmaking, mixed media, pastels, etc. No photography, digital works, giclees, high relief works, or 3D works.

Judge:  Stephanie Fox Knappe, Samuel Sosland Curator of American Art at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, holds a doctoral degree in art history from University of Kansas where she taught several courses. She was the exhibition coordinator for the first traveling retrospective exhibition of the work of Aaron Douglas and served as acting curator, European and American painting and sculpture, at the Spencer Museum of Art at KU before joining the staff at the Nelson-Atkins. Knappe has contributed to the exhibition catalogues Tales from the Easel: American Narrative Paintings from Southeastern Museums, circa 1800-1950, Aaron Douglas: African American Modernist, Romancing the West: Alfred Jacob Miller in the Bank of America Collection, and Go West! Art of the American Frontier from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.  She recently curated Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection and served as venue curator for the Nelson-Atkins' presentation of Shared Legacy: Folk Art in American, Rising Up: Hale Woodruff's Murals at Talladega College, and American Historical Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood.  Knappe's dissertation, "'Art Perpetuating Fame: The Posters of Buffalo Bill's Wild West" was supported in part through a resident fellowship at the Buffalo Bill Center for the West in Cody, Wyoming. Taking a cue from William F. Cody, she has taken her show on the road to present papers on Wild West posters at conferences from Taos to Tampa.  Knappe has served as a juror for multiple exhibitions, including the Heartland Art Guild Miniature Competition, the Symphony in the Flint Hills Fine Art Exhibition, and the Annual Missouri Valley Impressionist Society Art Show.

Entry Fees: Up to two entries per artist will be accepted. Enter online at

  • Circle of Patrons Artist Members Early Bird Registration (online only): $15.00 for one entry, $20.00 for two entries.
  • Non-Members Early Bird Registration Fee (online only): $20.00 for one entry, $25.00 for two entries.
  • At The Door Registration Fee: $25 for one entry, $35 for two entries.

Artists are encouraged to take advantage of the Early Bird Registration at This means you will have paid your entry fee and registered your works online before the drop off dates. Early registration is only available online. Artists not wanting to take advantage of this option will fill out a registration form and pay their entry fee during the drop off dates.
Drop Off/Pick Up: All entries must be dropped off Thursday August 30 from 4:00 to 6:00pm or Friday August 31 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Big Spring Gallery located at 216 West Spring Street, Neosho, MO 64850. No early drop off or late entry will be accepted. Works must stay in place the entire show (all of September and October). No early pick ups.

August 25 - Deadline for Early Bird registration
                     (via only)
August 30 - Drop Off of Entries 4:00pm to 6:00pm
August 31 - Drop Off of 4:00pm to 6:00pm
September 8 - Awards Presentation and Critiques 2:00pm
September 8 - Public reception at 3:00pm
October 29 - Pick Up of Entries 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Best of Show (from either Professional or Emerging categories) $500 plus two month solo show at Neosho Arts Council's Big Spring Gallery
Professional                                          Emerging
$250 First Place                                   $150 First Place
$200 Second Place                              $100Second Place
$150 Third Place                                 $75 Third Place
$100 Fourth Place                               $50 Fourth Place
Plus a wide selection of Merit Awards and the Mary Ellen Pitts Memorial Pastel Award


  • The exhibit is open to all artists 18 years of age or older, amateur and professional.  All entries must be original works by the artist, not previously entered in this competition or shown at the Big Spring Gallery, and completed in the past three years.
  • No Diptychs or Triptychs
  • All exhibited work must be: professional-quality framed or gallery wrapped (gallery wrap canvas must have the sides painted, not gesso, with choice of 1) continuation of image, or 2) solid color.) Work must be wired properly and ready for installation. No sawtooth hangers or clips hangers will be accepted. All framed works are strongly encouraged to use plexiglass. Plexi can be found at any local hardware store (Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.) and most will cut to fit your frame for free if you take the frame in with you to assure correct sizing. Neosho Arts Council is not responsible for damage to art work or frames due to broken glass.
  • Maximum size is 36 inches by 36 inches including frame. Please measure your work before arriving. We will measure all works submitted.
  • Maximum weight for work is 15 Lbs. To reduce weight, replace glass with plexiglass.
  • All work must be for sale with a 30% commission collected by the Neosho Arts Council.
  • The Neosho Arts Council reserves the right to refuse an accepted work because of unacceptable presentation.
  • All work must be family friendly: no explicit nudity or pornography
  • There is a storage fee of $5 per day for works not picked up by 4:00pm October 29.

Liability: Neosho Arts Council and Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce are not responsible for loss or damage to artwork while in transit to and from the show, or while on display. The artist agrees to allow the Neosho Arts Council, at its discretion, to utilize photographs of exhibited work for publicity purposes, not for reproduction.
Everyone is invited to attend the Awards Presentation and Critiques Reception on September 9 at 2:00pm. Refreshments will be served, along with a drawing for over $500 in gift certificates to various art supply stores including Guerrilla Painter and Blick Art Materials. Everyone is also invited to the Art After Hours reception September 19 from 4:30 to 6:00pm. Both receptions and the exhibition are open to the public of all ages, so be sure to invite your patrons and friends!

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