Capital Arts Patrons’ Organisation (CAPO) delivers an annual grants program for artists from the Canberra region that is supported by donations from artists and businesses in Canberra.  CAPO grants support excellence in the arts, significant opportunities for artists to develop their career, and innovative community cultural development projects.

The Reading Room CAPO London Exhibition Award provides an emerging artist with airfares, accommodation and an exhibition space in Soho, London.  Reading Room is a leading digital communication company with offices in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Singapore, London and Manchester.  Reading Room donates the award and stages the exhibition in the ground floor gallery of its London corporate premises.  Painter Linzie Ellis, who won the Reading Room award in 2011 and staged her exhibition in 2012, says that it, “arms you with confidence and with lots of experience that will help you later on.”

Karena Keys, who won the award in 2012 and who will stage her exhibition in October this year says, “Every time I have an exhibition, I build on what I learned from the last one.  Each time, the things that daunted me at first become easier.”  Keys has previously exhibited in Australia and the Netherlands and, armed with that experience says, “I’m going to be prepared for London.”

The inaugural award winner, printmaker, Antonia Aitken used her time in London to build contacts in the art community and to apply for residencies elsewhere.  Winning the award was the catalyst for her first trip out of Australia.  While in London, she secured residencies in Dublin and upstate New York.

Ellis and Aitken both agree that the opportunity to visit galleries in Britain and Europe was as rewarding as the exhibition itself.  Ellis says it’s the kind of experience that one reflects on later and that it becomes more significant after the event.

Applications for the 2013 Reading Room Award and other CAPO are now open and close on Friday October 25, 2013

The winning recipients will be announced at CAPO’s gala art exhibition and auction night at Canberra Museum and Gallery on Saturday November 23.