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Record number of applications for this year’s Woon Prize

Press release   •   Apr 20, 2016 15:34 BST

Hundreds of student artists from across the UK will compete for the 2016 Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize after a record number of applications.

The Woon Prize, jointly presented by Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, offers an exceptional opportunity for students currently in the final year of their undergraduate study within the United Kingdom.

The first prize is a year-long £20,000 Fellowship based in the Woon Tai Jee studio located at BALTIC 39 in Newcastle’s city centre. It includes mentoring from staff from both Northumbria and BALTIC and a solo exhibition with catalogue at the end of the Fellowship. There are two runner-up prizes of £9,000 and £6,000 plus a further £5,000 judges’ discretionary award.

This year, almost 300 final year undergraduate art students have submitted work for the award, with applications from across the UK’s most prestigious arts universities and institutions. From these applications, between 10 and 12 artists will be shortlisted for an exhibition held in BALTIC’s beautiful, top floor project space at BALTIC 39, with the overall winner going on to a solo exhibition, which concludes the Fellowship, at Northumbria University’s Gallery.

BALTIC and Northumbria, as an important element of their partnership activities, host the The Woon Foundation Prize jointly. Now in its fourth year, the Prize is open to all UK undergraduate Fine Art students who are in their final year of study, graduating in summer 2016.

The Prize will be selected and judged by a jury including Christine Borland, Turner Prize-nominated artist, Karen MacKinnon, Curator and Director at Artes Mundi, and Laurence Sillars, BALTIC Chief Curator.

Professor Keith McIntyre, the Head of Northumbria’s Arts department, said; “We are delighted that the Woon Foundation Art Competition has attracted a record 284 applications from final year Fine Art students across the UK.

“This is the most prestigious prize for an emerging graduating artist and brings with it the incredible benefits of a year-long residency at the BALTIC 39 studios here in Newcastle and support from BALTIC’s Curatorial staff.”

Sarah Munro, BALTIC Director added: “The Woon Prize is fast gaining a reputation as the most important award for graduates in Europe.

“It’s wonderful to see a prize that truly puts the needs of (the next generation of) emerging artists at its centre.”

The Woon Prize was launched in 2012 and the inaugural winner was artist Holly Hendry who completed her Fellowship in September 2014. The next Fellow was Ramona Zoladek who held the Fellowship until September 2015. The current Fellow is Kayt Hughes, who recently met Mr Woon when he visited the UK in January. The Woon Foundation very generously funds these major prizes and discretionary consolation prizes each year to the value of £40,000. Wee Teng Woon, one of the Foundation trustees studied law at Northumbria and is also passionate about creating opportunities for final year art students. To find out more go to:

Northumbria offers a range of courses in the arts and was recently rated Top 10 in the UK for Arts and Design research power following the Research Excellence Framework 2014. To find out more about studying at Northumbria go to: or sign up for one of our upcoming Open Days.

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