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Less than one week left for student artists to apply for The Woon Art Prize 2017

Press Release   •   Mar 29, 2017 09:47 BST

Holly Hendry working at BALTIC 39

Final year undergraduate artists from across the UK have until Monday 3 April to apply for one of the UK’s most generous arts prizes.

The Woon Foundation Painting & Sculpture Prize, jointly hosted by Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art offers an exceptional opportunity for Fine Art students.

The first prize is a £20,000 fellowship with a 12-month studio space in the Woon Tai Jee studio at BALTIC 39 in Newcastle city centre. The year-long fellowship includes mentoring from staff from both institutions and a final exhibition with catalogue at the end of the Fellowship. There are also two generous runner-up prizes of £9,000 and £6,000. Applications can be made via woonprize.co.uk until Monday 3 April 2017.The prize is free to enter.

The shortlisted artists will be selected by a panel of judges including Laurence Sillars, BALTIC Chief Curator; Hilary Lloyd, artist and Turner Prize-nominee; Holly Hendry, artist and inaugural recipient of Woon Foundation Prize; and chaired by Christine Borland, Turner Prize-nominated artist and Professor at Northumbria University.

Up to 10 artists will be shortlisted from the open submission for an exhibition at BALTIC’s project space at BALTIC 39 in summer 2017, with a solo exhibition concluding the Fellowship, at Northumbria’s University Gallery. All shortlisted artists will receive a £300 fee. A further £200 is allocated to each shortlisted artist to cover travel and accommodation so they may attend the exhibition preview and award ceremony at BALTIC 39 on Thursday 29 June.

Professor Borland said: “As the Prize enters its fifth year we are delighted, with our partners at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, to be able to make the offer from the Woon Foundation even more generous. Each of the 10 shortlisted artists are now winners, each receiving a fee and expenses to enable them to attend the exhibition opening at BALTIC 39. The judging panel encourage all final year fine art students to consider applying, what is there to lose?!”

The first winning recipient of the Woon Foundation Prize was Holly Hendry who took up residence in the Woon Tai Jee Studio at BALTIC 39 in 2013. Just four short years on and Holly is currently exhibiting new work at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (until 4 June) in her first major UK institutional exhibitionWrot. Excitingly, she will also join the Woon Foundation Prize judging panel this year, alongside established artists and curators.

Q&A with Holly Hendry

How does it feel to be on the judging panel for The Woon Prize 2017?

It means a lot to be involved in this year’s Woon prize. I am thrilled to be able to engage with such a variety of works at a pivotal point. It’s the beginning of something, so I hope to see works with potential and promise as well as tangible thought that has gone into the production and presentation.

What impact did winning the Woon Prize have on your career?

As a young artist, leaving the support of university is tough and terrifying. The year-long residency gave me a year to focus and showed other people what I had been doing, which opened up possibilities and opportunities. I met fantastic people and saw both Northumbria University and BALTIC differently, behind the scenes in a way. You learn from real world experience and the people you meet, so these opportunities, which provide younger artists with time to find their own ways of working as an artist, are so important. Through being supported by both Northumbria and BALTIC, the prize has this unique position, in-between an excellent learning environment and a highly-regarded institution. I think this combination is a very inclusive approach, and breaks down potential boundaries between learning and the art world, which should be integrated and accessible.

Why should final year Fine Art and Sculpture students apply for the prize?

The prize brings a group of people together, in Newcastle which is a vibrant and exciting city. They are all connected through having just gone through a bizarre and intensive period of finishing their undergraduate degree show and leaving university, a massively confusing and exciting time. The Woon prize invites artists from across the country, allowing these artists to form different relationships – a peer group where a wider network is being created. This is significant as it is bringing together new works, ideas and viewpoints, that begins in Newcastle in a professional exhibition context, but also allows for other situations to happen from. The prize itself provides one individual with support, space and money, which in turn gives you a precious opportunity for intensive time, research and making, without the usual distractions or hurdles. It’s an opportunity for first-hand experience and experimentation at a crucial point of change in someone’s art career, and it’s really exciting.

Tell us about your new exhibition at BALTIC.

The exhibition brings together completely new works, which I’ve made for the level 2 space at BALTIC. Physically, the show plays with variations of surfaces and planes, raising one section of the floor to make a slightly stage-like setting where boney sculptures tower above, and cutting a hole in the wall so that sections of outside are viewed from within, and vice versa. There is a shifting of macro and micro where visitors are brought up close to the forms that speak of the underneath – whether that is under our feet or under our skin; it’s a closer look at impressions of objects, bodies and ‘stuff’.

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Northumbria and BALTIC jointly award and present the The Woon Foundation Prize for Painting and Sculpture as an important part of the successful strategic partnership between the two organisations. Now in its fifth year, the Prize is open to all UK undergraduate Fine Art students who are in their final year of study, graduating in summer 2017. Works to be included in the exhibition must be in the mediums of either painting or sculpture. The Woon Foundation Prize is open for applications until Monday 3 April 2017. For full terms and conditions and to enter visit: woonprize.co.uk

Northumbria offers a range of course in the Arts. To find out more sign up for one of our upcoming Open Days or go to: www.northumbria.ac.uk/arts

Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. To find out more about our courses go to www.northumbria.ac.uk

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