The first Art Award was held in a carport, more than 40 years ago. In 1978 the Centralian Advocate newspaper came on board as a major sponsor and The Advocate Art Award was born. The Art Society purchased work which was donated to the Alice Springs collection for the people of Alice Springs. Some of these early acquisitions include western desert paintings such as Papunya artist, Karpa Jambajimba’s watercolor, ‘Gulgardi’.
The Advocate Art Award has lasted for more than thirty years because it has fulfilled both the aims of the newspaper and the Art Society to concentrate on stories and characters from the local community. Originally there were no prizes but in 1980, the editor of the Advocate initiated a people’s choice prize which meant that the viewing public voted for a winner who received a cash prize. Since then other prizes have been added, supported by a number of sponsors in the community. The 2010 Advocate Art Award has had yet another incarnation, having been reinstated to Gallery One at the Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs.