Awards Founder

Richard T. Nelson is an avid art collector and appreciator. Originally from the USA, Richard has called Wellington, NZ home for past 25 years

Richard’s love of sculpture started more than 50 years ago upon visiting a small gallery in Haiti. There he came across some beautiful works by a Haitian sculptor, Ludovic Booz. He purchased 3 elegant mahogany sculptures that he admires and appreciates to this day.

Degrees from Yale and Stanford Universities followed by a successful career in Investments has enabled Richard to pursue his love of art.

His collection holds contemporary pieces from around the world including Europe, the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Haiti, Japan and Africa. His sculpture collection includes a considerable selection of smaller works, providing the inspiration for this award.

Richard appreciates the elegance and grace of sculpture, and wishes to reward technique and true craftsmanship through this award.

About the awards

A unique opportunity for Aotearoa sculpture

These awards recognise excellence in New Zealand sculpture and seek to foster a market for small scale sculpture, so collectors can enjoy them at home.

Molded. Cast. Carved. Assembled. Elegance. Excellence. Craftmanship.

These awards highlight the diversity of small-scale works and celebrate our unique culture and heritage through New Zealand sculpture.

The awards are valued at $20,000 with a premier prize of $15,000 rewarding creative talent and craftsmanship, with five highly commended prizes of $1000 each.

90 artworks have been selected as finalists and they will be revealed to the public at the 2022 NZ Art Show, 2-4 June, in Wellington. All artworks will be for sale. Judging for the award winners will take place at the show.

View a list of the finalists here.

View a media story about the finalists here.

Applications for the 2022 awards are now closed but please sign to our mailing list below so you can receive notifications about the 2023 awards.

The winner of the 2021 Premier Award was ‘Wall Sculpture No. 5’, a piece constructed out of cow bone by Taranaki-based artist Sam Kelly.

View the 2021 finalists and winners here.

View a media release about the 2021 winners here

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Artists and art lovers: if you would like to receive reminder notifications about the 2023 Richard T Nelson Awards for Sculpture, please provide your details in the form below.

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