New arts prize launched for emerging Greater Manchester contemporary artists

Date published: 16 February 2016

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is launching a new annual arts prize, thanks to a public grant from the Arts Council England and sponsorship from the business community.

The Chamber is dedicated to uncovering the talent of emerging contemporary artists, providing them with a platform to showcase their work to the business community.

Joy Sewart, Operations Manager for the Chamber, who is leading project, said: “Our aim is to find and build the careers of emerging Greater Manchester-based artists and help retain artistic talent in our region. There is a wealth of talent across our region and our job at the Chamber is to provide a platform to showcase and celebrate the work of our contemporary visual artists.”

The prize will be open to practising semi-professional and professional artists working or living in one of the 10 local authorities across Greater Manchester. The overall winner and three runners-up prizes will be announced at the Chamber’s Annual Business Dinner on 19 May 2016 at Victoria Warehouse.

The overall winner will receive a cash prize of £1,500 (with £150 of vouchers from art suppliers Fred Aldous and paper products from G F Smith), with the three runners-up each receiving a cash prize of £750 (with £50 of vouchers from Fred Aldous and paper products from G F Smith). All winners will be presented with an award made by a local artist. Shortlisted entries and the winners will receive exhibition space to display their artwork in the Chamber Summer 2016 Exhibition.

Craig Charles has been confirmed as the host/DJ for the Annual Dinner, which has been billed as a 'wholehearted celebration of the quality and diversity of Greater Manchester business'. The dinner will be attended by over 800 people from businesses, so for the arts prize to be awarded at the dinner provides a real opportunity for contemporary artists to showcase their work direct to the heart of business and increase their chance of commissions.

Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, commented: ”I am delighted with the partnership we have developed with the Arts Council England and the grant they have given us to launch this terrific competition for artists in Greater Manchester. The Chamber is committed to supporting artists and ensuring that business and the arts works ever closer together as public funding becomes more and more squeezed.”

Sitting on the Judging Panel for the 2016 prize are Kwong Lee, Director of Castlefield Art Gallery, Paulette Terry Brien, Co-director of The International Three and Co-curatorial co-ordinator of The Manchester Contemporary, Sarah Hardacre, internationally renowned Greater Manchester-based visual artist and Louise Durose, General Counsel at MAN Diesel & Turbo UK Ltd and collector of northern art.

The judging panel are interested in receiving entries from contemporary visual artists who are living/practising in Greater Manchester, whose work portrays significant potential, interesting ideas and strong messaging.

Paulette, of The International Three, said: “The International Three is excited to be working alongside the Chamber and Castlefield Gallery to deliver the inaugural Greater Manchester Chamber Arts Prize. The prize echoes The International Three’s core aims of identifying and supporting emerging artists, we are delighted therefore to be part of a project that will provide artists in Greater Manchester with new opportunities to gain recognition and support for their work.”

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, which is the largest Chamber in the UK, has made a significant commitment over the last 12 months to develop its arts and cultural strategy. The Chamber’s flagship premises, Elliot House on Deansgate, provide a wealth of opportunities for engaging with new sectors and the arts sector.

The arts prize and commission opportunity to produce the prizes are now open for entries. Artists can submit work via the website at:

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