The Benninghaus Award is the VBK's art prize by default, donated since 2001 by Barbara and Michael Benninghaus von Neuss (Düsseldorf). This prize is exclusively awarded to the artists of the VBK. It contains a prize money of €3.000 and a solo presentation of the awardee in the VBK Gallery.
Carla Fioravanti was the first to be awarded the prize in 1992, then still called ARAG-Award. It contained an exclusive exhibition in the gallery, as well as a catalogue and covered costs for the invitation. After a pause of reflection, the prize was awarded each year from 1994 to 1997 to a painter and a sculptor respectively. Thus eight more artists received the prize during this time.
In 1998 it was decided to present a joint-award to a Berlin artist and an artist from Düsseldorf for the reason of better integration between the ARAG and the VBK. For this purpose, the VBK turned to the art association Malkasten in Düsseldorf.Since then, the prize further consists of an exhibition in the central administration of the ARAG and in a gallery of choice in Düsseldorf, in addition to exhibiting at the VBK.
Due to a change of ownership at the ARAG in 2001 the prize was no longer continued. Since the preparations for 2001 were already advanced, the ARAG foundation stepped in for that year, however without any artist from Düsseldorf.
In order to prevent further discontinuation, Mr Benninghaus and his wife took over the now modified award. After some experiments the award was renamed after him.