About the Award

The Golden Fleece Award is the largest prize open to both artists and makers in Ireland. Its mission, enacted in accordance with the wishes of its founder, Lillias Mitchell, informs how it is adjudicated and distributed.

The mission of the Golden Fleece Award is to provide resources for practising contemporary visual artists and makers to innovate and develop their artistic vision, in accordance with Lillias’ intentions as set out in her Letter of Wishes to her Trustees:

It has always been my wish that those with talent be encouraged to develop their talents, particularly in Ireland … I am very conscious of the fact that many artists cannot develop their talents because their art does not bring in a steady income for them and yet they need to support themselves financially … My wish is to give artists a 'boost' in times of particular need … I have set up this trust [for] artists in need who are interested in pursuing their careers as artists.

A call for applications is usually announced each August and remains open until November. For the 2022 Golden Fleece Award the window for applications will be slightly later, running from mid-October 2021 to mid-December 2021, with the Award made in April 2022.

Applications received are assessed by a specialist Advisory Panel and the Golden Fleece Board of Trustees which, according to Lillias’ wishes, includes members of the Mitchell family, professional fund managers and arts experts. From these a shortlist is selected and will be announced in February/March 2022, with the Award ceremony following in April 2022.

The Golden Fleece Award normally consists of one or more major Awards, to which may be added smaller Merit or Special Awards. The prize fund fluctuates from year to year but generally amounts to at least €20,000 overall. How the fund is divided among recipients and distributed in any given year is at the Trustees' discretion. In recent years, Awards of €12,000, €10,000, €5,000, €4,000 and €3,000 have been made.

In celebration of the Golden Fleece's twentieth anniversary and in recognition of the exceptionally difficult circumstances facing creative practitioners during COVID-19, the Trustees of the Golden Fleece Award decided to increase the prize fund for the 2021 Award to €60,000. This was distributed through six awards of €10,000.