The International Award for Participatory Art is the first award world-wide promoting and sponsoring artists who involve their audiences in the process of producing works of art.

Participation is at the heart of this art movement which has enjoyed great success internationally over the last fifty years. Participatory art projects are particularly close to social and political themes and focus primarily on building a relationship with the viewers of art who become co-authors rather passive onlookers. The relationship between artist and participant is two-way, often public in nature, and is based on exchange, sharing and interaction.
The Award is sponsored by the Legislative Assembly of the Emilia-Romagna Regional Government in collaboration with LaRete Art Projects and Goodwill. The biennial award is curated by Julia Draganovic and Claudia Löffelholz.
The aims of the Award are to spread knowledge of this art form, stimulate discussion about the idea of participation and to create and develop a sense of belonging to the community. This is done through a series of creative events involving everyone and not just the artist. Participatory art clearly goes beyond the bounds of conventional market-driven art.

Art which interacts with an area and its communities to produce models for social change. This is the virtuous circle and the thinking which lies behind the International Award for Participatory Art. An art form which goes beyond the conventional market-driven strategies of contemporary art to become a source of inspiration embedded in the local community. A stimulus for thought and debate. A means for encouraging new forms of collaboration. Introducing new viewpoints. Exploring original ideas. We think that the creation of this award is a very effective way of achieving these aims because it adopts the very original idea of using art as a meeting of the ways and a place for discussion between those who are elected to govern and those who are governed. Participatory art provides a place where the two separate worlds can come together with a common purpose to achieve shared objectives. The artists participating in the Award are internationally renowned and are backed by participatory art projects recognised as among the most original world-wide. We are certain that our region of Emilia-Romagna will benefit from their work.

Matteo Richetti, President of the Legislative Assembly of the Region of Emilia-Romagna

The Award was created in 2010 and is open to artists of any age, world-wide.
Nominations for the award are made by a panel of international art experts and professionals from the world of contemporary art. A jury of curators and artists draw up a short list of three finalists from the twenty artists nominated by the panel. The three short-listed candidates compete for a prize of € 15,000 and a budget of € 30,000 for the creation of a project in the Region of Emilia Romagna. The finalists are invited to spend two weeks in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna where they can meet and get to know the local community with a view to developing their projects in the area.