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2021 Sacred Art Competition and Exhibition

Call for Entry:

Seeking the finest contemporary sacred art for an online juried exhibition hosted by the Catholic Art
Institute, with a world-wide audience and the opportunity to sell work, be featured on the

Catholic Art Institute website and podcast.

Grand Prize: $2500, Second Place: $750, Third Place: $250


Submission for Entry Opens: May 7, 2021    Submission Deadline: Nov. 19th, 2021
Notification Date: Dec. 4, 2021

Curated by Cody Swanson, Sculptor


Cody Joseph Swanson is an American sculptor who lives in Florence, Italy with his wife and five children. He holds a Level One Masters Diploma in Liturgy, Sacred Art and Architecture from the European University in Rome, and studied sculpture in the three year certificate program of the Florence Academy of Art, where he continued to teach for five years. Swanson is a co-founder and former board member of the Sacred Art School of Florence, and spearheaded their traditional sculpture program for nine years.

At his recently established private studio in north Florence, he continues to produce award winning sculpture for churches and private collections throughout Europe and the United States. Noteworthy examples can be found at the Duomo of Florence,

Cody Swanson, Artist

Sacred Art Prize 2021 Juror Cody Swanson

St Dominic’s Priory of London, The Benedictine Monastery of Norcia, St Joseph Cathedral of Sioux Falls, SD, Saint Patrick’s Church of New Orleans, LA, The National Shrine of Mary at Holy Hill, WI, Campus Bio-medico of Rome, the Jesuit High School of Tampa, FL, and Eglise Notre Dame des Accoules, Marseille.


Tremendous love for classical art and architecture with pursuit of continuity have formed Swanson's methods, while prestigious commissions, gallery representation, and academic  positions have demonstrated an ability to aptly organize budgets, timetables,

and curricula.


Enter the Sacred Art Prize

Submissions Criteria:

Evident mastery of the artistic medium employed – meeting high standards in the fundamental facets of the artistic craft including mature competency in the use of the human figure.

Content – represents Biblical or Ecclesiastical subjects suitable for pious devotional and/or liturgical use while demonstrating knowledge and continuity of historical artistic practice in the Catholic tradition.

Subject Restrictions:

Media limited to representational painting, illumination, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, liturgical textiles, stained glass, mosaic and altar furnishings.

No photography, photorealism, or computer-generated art will be accepted.

Subjects sought (but not limited to) include scenes from the Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ; other biblical scenes, stories, and characters; depictions of the saints and their lives; current and historical events in the life of the Church; depictions of the seven sacraments; personifications of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, virtues and vices, and so on.

Subjects which will not be considered include copies of existing works; portrayals of non-canonized persons as saints; portraits of living clergy or religious; works which are only recognizably religious from their titles; scenes of the exterior or interior of churches (unless the work is illustrating an important religious/historical event or the administration of the sacraments).

The article in the Sacred Architecture Journal by Cody Swanson on Sacred Art best provides guidance on the types of work the CAI is seeking for this call.

This video presentation by Dr. Denis McNamara on Sacred Art is also helpful in understanding the correct approach for Christian subject matter and theological reasons for composing images of Christ, Our Lady and the saints ideally based upon centuries of successful interpretation.

Eligibility: This competition and exhibition is open to any artist over the age of 18, professional or amateur, of any religious background. All entries must be original, by the submitting artist, and created within in the past ten years.  Limit five entries per artist. Works need not be for sale to be eligible. Simply mark your submission NFS (not for sale).

If you have any questions about eligibility please email

Submission Process:

Fill out the entry form on the right hand side of this page and upload images that conform to the requirements listed below.

Upon submitting the form, please wait for the PayPal pop-up and prompt to pay for your submissions. You will receive a confirmation email from PayPal when your submissions have been received. If you have not received a confirmation email, then we did not receive your entries.

We are only able receive submissions electronically through PayPal and cannot accept wire transfers. If you wish to enter the competition from outside the US and cannot use PayPal, please email and we will do our best to find an alternative solution.


Sacred Art Prize call is now closed.

Submission Fees:


Members of the CAI: $25 for one entry. $35 for 2-3 entries, $10 per additional entry for a maximum of 5 entries.

Non-members: $45 for 1-3 entries, $15 per additional entry for a maximum of 5 entries

Image Requirements:

Each uploaded image label must be formatted to include your first name, last name, title of work, and number of the entry. E.g. JaneDoe_Anunciation__1.jpg

Please provide clear images large enough to view to show detail. Images should be around between 1-4 MB each, and not to exceed 25 MB for entire form entry.  Images should be in JPEG format. Large printable files that exceed 5MB will not upload correctly to the form.

We cannot assist participants in preparing their images but if you have questions, please feel free to email us at

Please include the following information under ‘Submission Details’ in the entry form:

Please include the following information for each image:

  • Artist’s full name

  • Title of work

  • Media

  • Price for sale or NFS

  • Dimensions in inches (height x width) or (height x width x depth)

  • Consent: I consent for my artwork images to be published on Catholic Art Institute social media platforms and website.*

  • If possible, please provide an image that does not have your signature visible.

*If written consent is omitted from the submission forms, we will assume you consent to allowing the Catholic Art Institute to display images of your work on the Catholic Art Institute website and social media accounts, if you are selected for the exhibition.

Jane Doe’s Submissions
1.The Annunciation, oil on canvas, $3000, 11 x 14”
2. Bust of St Francis, terracotta, NFS, 20 x 12 x 12”

“I consent for my artwork images to be published on Catholic Art Institute social media platforms and website.”

Artist’s Instagram account if applicable.


Sales and Shipping:


A 15% sales commission will go to the Catholic Art Institute on all sales. Please consider the 15% commission in the price of your work.


Artists are responsible for shipping their work to buyers, should it sell as a result of this online show. For the safe delivery of your work, we strongly recommend using an Airfloat Strongbox or Masterpak Titan Strongbox  for shipping your work to buyers.

The Catholic Art Institute is not responsible for loss or damage to the artwork while in transit.

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