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The People’s Show is back

Press release   •   Jan 26, 2016 11:00 GMT

One of the North East’s most celebrated open competitions for artists has returned to Northumbria University with a £5,000 prize named after the late Norman Cornish.

Held at the University Gallery at City Campus, the People’s Show is designed to foster the creative talent of the region and is open to amateur and professional artists based in the region. Any medium of art can be entered as long as the subject-matter is people. This year’s exhibition is open now and features the work of more than 30 artists from the region. The most significant single piece of work from the show is chosen by a judging panel, with the winner receiving the £5,000 Norman Cornish Art Prize. This year, the panel, consisting of Northumbria’s Head of Department for Arts, Professor Keith McIntyre, Professor Jean Brown, artist Helen Baker, and former People’s Show winner Carly Rybak, selected a painting by artist Lizzie Rowe entitled ‘Sixty’ as the winner.

People Show 2016 - To Embed (2)Lizzie said: “It was a complete surprise to me when it was announced at the Private View and I was delighted and slightly shocked. The painting is an honest depiction of myself at the age of 60 – veins, warts and all. I would once again like to thank the judges.”

Professor Keith McIntyre said: “We are delighted to be hosting the People’s Show once again in the Northumbria University Gallery. There is an extraordinary spirit and energy to this exhibition profiling the work of 33 artists from across the region.”

Northumbria has a very strong relationship with the family of the late artist Norman Cornish, with the University housing a permanent collection of his work and engaging in a variety of activities to preserve his legacy. His family kindly allowed his name to be used alongside the People’s Show prize to become the Norman Cornish Art Prize at this year’s exhibition. The news follows recent announcements about ongoing plans for the Cornish legacy involving Northumbria University and Spennymoor Town Council. The Coming Home exhibition will see a permanent collection of the artist’s work on display at Spennymoor Town Hall in the new Norman Cornish Room. For more information about this exhibition click here.

Norman Cornish’s son John said: “My father would have been delighted to see the return of the People's Show. ‘People’ were perhaps my father’s favourite subject-matter. He loved the shapes that people made and he was particularly skilled in capturing the many ‘characters’ he found in his home town of Spennymoor. I’m so pleased that my father’s name will be associated with this art prize and that his legacy will help to foster the creative talent emerging from the region. The Norman Cornish Art Prize is another example of my father’s long-standing relationship with University Gallery. ”

Alongside the £5,000 Norman Cornish Art Prize for the most significant creation, there is also the People’s Choice cash prize of £250. This is based on the votes of those who attend the exhibition with the artwork that proves most popular with the public at this year’s exhibition receiving the prize. This will be announced in due course. The People’s Show exhibition will be at the University Gallery at Northumbria’s City Campus Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm, closed Saturday and Sunday, until 29 January. For more information go to:

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