About Top Arts


Top Arts
is an exhibition presented annually by the National Gallery of Victoria to showcase outstanding work by students who have completed Art and/or Studio Arts studies in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) in the previous year.

Since the first Top Arts exhibition was presented at the NGV in 1994, the work of over 1000 young artists has been featured in Top Arts exhibitions.. Media exhibited has included painting, analogue and digital photography, textiles, printmaking, drawing, collage, ceramics, glass, embossing, metalwork, assemblage, sculpture, short films, websites and mixed media works on paper.

A six-member panel comprising teachers and Gallery staff select the works. The panel seeks works that demonstrate strong conceptual development, reveal skill in the use of media and techniques, display imaginative and individual qualities, and where the media chosen best expresses the intention or ideas behind the works.

Top Arts provides a voice for young artists to share their insights and ideas.

Varied themes reflect the preoccupations, concerns and challenges facing young adults: relationships, body image, environmental concerns, the role of the media, the beauty and complexity of the natural or urban landscape and a diversity of responses to life experiences. Over the years there has been an increase in works responding to online and screen-based influences.

Current VCE and younger students are inspired to create their own outstanding work encouraged by seeing the work by their peers exhibited in a state gallery.

All VCE students confident of achieving a high score for the practical component of their Art or Studio Arts studies are eligible to apply. Application forms are available in late August each year and applications, comprising a photograph and brief details about the works must be submitted by the deadline in Mid-October. The selection panel convenes over 4-5 days to short-list works. These are assembled in early December so the final selection can be made for the exhibition.

Top Arts is a major component of the VCE Season of Excellence which celebrates the achievements, talent and imagination of senior secondary students completing studies in the visual, performing and screen-based arts