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New Light

Lancashire Artists aim for Top Art Prize

11 October 2015 22:30


Twelve Lancashire artists are celebrating being shortlisted for this year’s New Light Prize Exhibition which offers the region’s best prizes for Northern contemporary art. All are now in with a chance of winning the £10,000 Valeria Sykes Award, and will see their work hung at the prestigious Bowes Museum in County Durham.

The New Light Prize Exhibition recognises and celebrates the best art being produced by artists who were born, studied or live in the North of England. This year’s call for entries attracted 1700 submissions from both professional and amateur artists – a five-fold increase on previous exhibitions. All of the artwork was judged by a distinguished panel including Norman Ackroyd CBE RA, artist; The Lord Crathorne KCVO, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Arts & Heritage Group; Laura Gascoigne, art reviewer on The Spectator; Matthew Hall, founder of Panter & Hall Fine Art Gallery in Pall Mall; and Annette Petchey, CEO of New Light. They selected a total of 84 works by 61 artists from across the North for the exhibition.

As Laura Gascoigne, one of the judges, commented: “True to its name, New Light is a revelation. None of the open exhibitions I've judged in the past has tapped into such a pool of undiscovered talent. There are always a few established artists whose work one recognises, but nearly all the artists here were new to me and there were several I was astonished - and rather ashamed - not to have come across. I hope this exposure will make them more visible in future. The sheer variety of work, at all levels, was heartening - it bolstered my faith in the vigour of British painting.”

In addition to the Valeria Sykes Award, several other prizes will be awarded at the Private View on Friday 16th October including the Zillah Bell Printmaker’s Prize which offers the winning artist an exhibition at the Zillah Bell Gallery in Thirsk, and the Swinton Foundation Prize, sponsored by Swinton Park, which is specifically targeted at emerging artists with mentoring and professional advice, as well as exhibition opportunities.

The New Light Prize Exhibition runs at The Bowes Museum in County Durham from 17th October 2015 – 7th February 2016 before moving to The Mercer Gallery in Harrogate on 17th February 2016 and then to Panter & Hall Gallery in London in June. Visitors to all three venues will get the chance both to buy work and to choose their favourite. The tig Visitors’ Choice Award will be presented to the artwork which gains the most votes at each venue.

The 2015 Short-list features the following Lancashire artists:

Michael Ashcroft (born Ormskirk, lives Leyland)
David Chandler (lives Stockport)
Helen Clapcott (born Blackpool)
Anne Desmet RA (born Liverpool which we count as being in the historic county of Lancashire)
Peter Layzell (lives Lytham St Annes)
Paul Lewin (born Manchester)
James Naughton (born and lives Bolton)
Genevieve Pennington (lives Ormskirk)
Chris Rigby (born Lancaster, lives Carnforth)
Louis Smith (born Bacup, lives Manchester)
Jo Taylor (lives Clitheroe)
Patsy Whiting (born Bolton, studied Manchester)


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Press Contacts

Annette Petchey


Tel: 07917 183989


Liz Simmonds

Operations Co-ordinator

Tel: 07734 424524


About New Light

New Light celebrates and promotes the quality of contemporary art being produced in the North of England and supports artists working in the region primarily through a major biennial touring exhibition. This is open to all Northern artists with prizes totaling over £15,000 including 'The Valeria Sykes Award' of £10,000.

To raise the profile of Northern artists, we run a number of exhibitions and events nationwide, including an annual show in London where we showcase the work of both established artists and those at the start of their artistic career. Alongside this, we offer guidance, mentoring and professional advice.

We also run an Art for All programme which is designed to make art accessible to everyone. This includes workshops with practising artists, talks with art experts, guided viewings and school projects.

Our newest initiative is the New Light Collection, a permanent collection of art illustrating the talent and expertise of some of the best artists from the North. Offered to schools, hospitals and other community-based groups free of charge; it is also made available to corporate sponsors who would like to support arts in the North of England.

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