Although Art Awards 2009 have not yet been formally launched, readers of this and the EAC Art Awards website can get an early start in preparing for entry to next year’s competition. The prize giving and week long exhibition will be held in the first week of December 2009, at the Bankside Gallery, Hopton Street, on London’s South Bank, scene of 2008's successful exhibition.
Two of the 2008 prize winners, Joan Seabrooke (The EAC Angela Farnell Memorial Prize worth £1000), and Leslie Child (The Winsor & Newton Prize for Watercolour, worth £250) kindly agreed to be interviewed over the year, and you can now read the first instalment of their stories on the Art Awards website (www.artawards.eac.org.uk).
PLEASE NOTE - There is now a new EAC Art awards website, at www.eacartawards.org.uk (July 09)
Anyone over the age of 60 can submit one or more entries to the competition. It is primarily intended to encourage amateur artists, whether working from home, from art classes, societies, the U3A, etc, or from retirement and sheltered housing, care homes or day centres, to experience the challenge and discipline of entering a national competition, and the potential excitement of being short listed and exhibited in a prestigious London gallery.
EAC’s long standing commitment to the Art Awards goes back to 1995, based on a strong belief that older people, given help and support as or when necessary, can be just as creative and talented as younger people, and just as eager to carry on active lives as members of their own communities. Each year the high quality of the submitted works of art, the sheer energy and enthusiasm of the entrants, aged from 60 to over 90, and their appreciation of the recognition and opportunity which the competition offers them, make the considerable investment of many people’s time and money worth while.
Entries to the competition can be in any medium; watercolour, pencil, oils, charcoal, collage, pastel, acrylic, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, photography. In the first instance, entrants are required to submit a thumbnail or colour photo of their work. Details of the full rules of entry will be publicised early in 2009.
In 2008, as reported on this blog in November, entries to the competition were overwhelmingly from the South of England, with The North (including Birmingham and all points North and West, including Northern Ireland) only contributing 17.5% of the total. Are there really less artistic and talented Over 60s north of Birmingham than south of it? Are older people in northern towns and cities less likely to find classes or societies to join, that will encourage and support them in maintaining and developing their creative skills? Are the Art Awards not adequately publicised further north? Whatever the reason, this is a disturbing bias, and you may well be in a position to help overcome it. If you are an artist yourself or you are a professional working in the supported housing sector, and you live in, or further north of Birmingham; or in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, then EAC Art Awards 2009 will particularly welcome your own entry or one (or even better, several) from people within the housing scheme, or care home that you represent.
It is taken as read that all entries to the EAC Art Awards, from anywhere within the country, and from people of any age, (as long as it’s over 60) are very much welcomed, valued and respected, as representing the aspirations of the artist, often under what can be very difficult circumstances, to continue to create. As one 94 year old, who has entered the Art Awards for several years, put it, “to be able to contribute, from fading eyesight and shaking hands, a pleasing visual effort, is no mean talent,” adding, “if I’m around next year, I shall be entering again, along with two other over 90s from the sheltered housing scheme where I live.”
So….. don’t wait on the launch! Artists need to start preparing now, in the dark winter months, and be ready to make EAC’s Over 60s Art Awards exhibition 2009 better than ever!
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Joan Seabrooke, winner of the EAC Angela farnell Memorial Prize 2008, at home
with Scheme Manager Dennis