top of page



CAI_LOGO_GOLD copy.png

2020 Online 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: $1300, Second Place: $500, Third Place: $250

Exhibition dates: Online Show from Dec 15, 2020 - Jan 15th, 2021


Submission for Entry Opens: Oct 2, 2020   

Submission Deadline: December 2, 2020
Notification Date: Dec 15, 2020.  


Curated by Dr. Denis McNamara,

Director of the Center for Beauty and Culture at Benedictine College. 


McNamara holds a Bachelor of Arts in History of Art from Yale University, as well as a Masters and Doctorate in Architectural History from the University of Virginia. Prior to coming to Benedictine, he spent the past two decades at Mundelein Seminary, near Chicago, where he served as Academic Director and Associate Professor at the Liturgical Institute. His written works include How to Read Churches: A Crash Course in Ecclesiatstical Architecture. He’s a sought-after lecturer, scholar, architectural consultant and judge of sacred art, as well as co-host of the popular podcast, Liturgy Guys.



Submissions Criteria:

Submissions will be evaluated according to three main criteria and one general principle:


  1. Evident mastery of the artistic medium employed – meeting high standards in the fundamental facets of the artistic craft.

  2. Content – giving preference to those with profound subject matter of central importance in the life of the Church, particularly those in union with the Church’s role as guardian of the revealed truths of Christ.

  3. Effectiveness in sacramental revelation – works of art which reach beyond a mere copy of an earthly object, portrait of a model, political statement or the technological process of its own making will be given preference.


General Principle: Winning entries will be chosen according to their ability to show evidence of an eschatological perfection combined with a trust in the materiality of this world and the goodness of creation. In essence, the standards set for evaluation are those of Christ’s own revelation. Just as Christ’s own Body used matter to reveal God and the Transfiguration showed that Matter glorified, so the winning entries will use the materials of this world to allow heavenly realities to break forth and bring the Light of God the Father to the viewer.


Subject Restrictions:


Artwork must be recognizable and appropriate for liturgical use, public devotion or private devotion.

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.


Modernizing of the subject matter placing Christ in a contemporary setting is acceptable, as is ethnic acculturation. Subjects which will not be considered include portrayals of noncanonized persons as saints; portraits of living clergy or religious; works which are only recognizably religious from their titles; and scenes of the exterior or interior of churches (unless the work is illustrating an important religious/historical event or the administration of the sacraments). Instruments of the mass including vestments and chalices  are eligible for submission. Photography and computer generated art is ineligible.

This video presentation by Dr. McNamara on Sacred Art best provides guidance on the types of work the CAI is seeking for this call.

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).

Submission Process:

Visit to fill out the entry form and upload images that conform to the
requirements listed below.

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

Images should be of good quality and no larger than 2MB, 1200-1500 pixels on the longest side at 72 dpi. Images should be in JPEG format.


We cannot assist participants in preparing their images.


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

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)

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 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. We
strongly recommend using a Strongbox or Masterpak
for shipping your work to buyers to ensure its safety in transit.

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


Mr. & Mrs. Franz & Melia Berkemeier
bottom of page