The first ever Dorset Art prize was declared an outstanding success during a packed awards ceremony at The North Road campus at The Bournemouth & Poole College.
The art prize, already recognised as one of the most valuable art competitions outside London with £8,000 in prizes, was created this year by The Bournemouth & Poole College and The Dorset Community Foundation.
The competition will run annually and is designed to showcase the range of talent and vision among budding artists of all ages. The generous level of prize money is part of the incentive to promote and reward the creative spirit of the entrants from across the county.
This year, the prestigious competition was sponsored by The Newsquest Media Group, which publishes newspapers and magazines throughout the region.
Head of Art and Design at the college, Nick Day, said: “The Dorset Art Prize is a truly democratic prize. There may be some huge art prizes on offer in the UK, but our prize is different because it is about the people of the county of Dorset.”
The artist Stuart Semple was one of the three judges for the competition. As a former Art and Design student at The Bournemouth & Poole College, and now with an international reputation, Stuart was in a unique position to appreciate the college’s philosophy behind the awards.
He said: “It has been a massive success and the quality of the work was outstanding. The prize is in its infancy and there was a definite focus toward digital art work, which tells us where we are at the moment.
“As the prize, funded for at least another ten years, becomes more rooted in the community I would like to see even more diversity in terms of painting, drawing and other media.”
The other two judges of the competition were Tony Worobiec, a Dorset-based international photographer and Michael Spender, Museum and Arts Manager, Borough of Poole.
The most valuable award was a £3,000 bursary for the college’s best Art and Design student. This went to Caroline Watts, a talented student who achieved a distinction grade on the Foundation Art and Design Diploma Course at the college. She has developed expertise in theatre and performance make-up. Caroline is moving over the Arts University Bournemouth but has plans to use the bursary money to set-up a business specialising in prosthetic make-up work and other special effects.
Full list of Dorset Art Prize award winners:
14 to 16 age group
1st Amanda Chu, 2nd Kiera Garman, 3rd Anna Harbord, Highly commended Alicia May Robbins.
16 to 18 age group
1st Alex Bertie, 2nd Tobias Moors, 3rd Jake Grant–Jones, Highly commended Indeah Bryony Tew.
19+ age group
1st Laura Dron, 2nd Harriet Muller, 3rd Cameron Hope, Highly commended Stacy Faulkner.