Excerpts from the Walters Prize rules:
The Walters Prize seeks to determine and publicly acknowledge the most outstanding contribution made to contemporary visual art in New Zealand in the two-year period preceding its award, the prize years. For these purposes “contemporary visual art in New Zealand” is defined as being an individual work or body of work of contemporary art which has been predominantly created within New Zealand or in response to the artist’s experience of New Zealand. The work or body of work must have been publicly exhibited for the first time during the prize years, either in New Zealand or elsewhere in the world.
In this respect the prize takes no regard of the artist’s actual or perceived identification as a New Zealand artist, whether they self-identify or are recognised as such. Moreover, an artist’s potential for inclusion in the prize should be determined without reference to their ethnicity, country of origin or current nationality.
The selection of artists shortlisted for representation in the biennial prize exhibition will be made by a New Zealand based group of invited experts, the prize jury. Membership of the jury will be determined and appointed, from prize to prize, at the discretion of the organising gallery. The final determination of the prize award is based on the shortlisted artist’s representation in the exhibition and is made by the prize judge.
The jury will comprise no less than three (3) and no more than five (5) individuals with recognised expertise in the visual arts and/or in allied contemporary cultural arenas. Jury membership can include but is not limited to those who are senior practising artists, art critics, writers, curators, art museum directors, art historians, or those otherwise prominent in allied contemporary cultural arenas.
The organising gallery is required to keep membership of the jury confidential until the announcement on the shortlisted artists. At the same time, members of the jury are required to retain confidentiality as to their membership until that time. The purpose of maintaining confidentiality over membership of the jury is to ensure that members can more effectively undertake their role from the relative anonymity of being a regular and interested observer of visual art exhibitions, thereby more easily retaining their critical independence and freedom to act.
The prize judge is chosen and invited by the founding benefactors and principal donors in consultation, as necessary, with the organising gallery. The judge will be an eminent national or international figure in the world of the visual arts or an allied cultural arena. He or she will be of such standing as to act to focus public, critical and media attention on their role. Those invited to be prize judge may include but are not limited to being senior practising artists, art critics, writers, curators, art museum directors, art historians and the like. The decision of the judge in making the prize award will be considered final and binding.