The Lingen Art Prize has been awarded to a young talent in painting since 1983: from then until 1992 it was awarded annually, since 1994 every two years, so that since then 12 female and 10 male artists have been honoured. The initiative for this prize is due to the former director of the Kunsthalle Heiner Schepers. Although the circumstances surrounding the application, selection and awarding of the prize have changed over the 25 years of its existence, the Lingen Art Prize still stands for young, up-and-coming art that is offered a stage in the Kunsthalle.

1983 to 1992

“To create a forum for young artists to present their works, to give them a piece of the way in the broad field of art” – with this aim the Lingen Art Prize was first announced in 1983. Prize winner Reinhard Wieczorek from Bottrop received DM 5,000 and a solo exhibition in the foyer of the Theater Wilhelmshöhe. Until 1992, the prize is announced annually. Young painters who are not yet established in the free art market as master students at an art academy and have not yet reached the age of 35 can apply. Each year an average jury of eleven judges decides on the submitted portfolios, until 1992 almost 2000 artists apply for the Lingen Art Prize, Heiner Schepers visits a total of 54 artists in their studios during this time who have made it into the final selection. More than 35,000 visitors see the group exhibitions of the applicants and the solo exhibitions of the prize winners. Their works move between figural and abstract painting, between monochrome geometric forms and organically blurred colours. Each exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.

1994 to today

Starting in 1994, the Lingen Art Prize is awarded every two years. Since then, the selection of candidates has no longer taken place through personal applications, but through proposals: Until 2004, a committee of five experts was formed for the task, and only artists who had completed their studies at least five years ago, but no more than ten years ago, were allowed to apply. At the same time, the age limit of 35 years was abolished. The prizewinners can now look forward to prize money of DM 15,000, a solo exhibition with a catalogue in the Kunsthalle opened in 1997 and, a tradition since the Kunstpreis was founded, the purchase of a work by the City of Lingen. In 2004, the selection procedure changed once again: 12 galleries were each asked to submit two proposals, which were then evaluated by a jury of six, including three members of the Friends of the Lingen Art Prize, two representatives from the art scene and the respective directors of the Kunsthalle – until 2008 Heiner Schepers, since 2009 Meike Behm. In 2004 Meike Behm was endowed with 7,777 euros, since then the prize money has been 7,500 euros. Since 2010, candidates have only to have completed their studies for at least three years in order to be nominated.