Ten new graduates have been selected to exhibit at Northumbria University’s Gallery North as finalists of the 2nd annual Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize. The overall winners of this national award will be announced on 16 September when they will be awarded prizes totalling £40,000.

The shortlisted artists are: Ana Chumillas, Central St Martins; Anna Hughes, DJCAD, Dundee University; Catherine Ross, Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen; Eleni Odysseos, University of Leeds; Emilie Atkinson, Slade School of Fine Art; Emily Motto, Ruskin School, Oxford University; Helen McCartney, University of Sunderland; Lisa Evans, Coleg Sir Gar, School of Creative Arts; Ramona Zoladek, Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge University; and Sam Baker, Kingston University.

Launched in 2012 by Northumbria University law graduate and art collector Wee Teng Woon, the award is run by his alma mater and includes a partnership with BALTIC 39.

The main £20,000 prize winner will also receive use of the Woon Tai Jee studio space in the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art at BALTIC 39 and mentoring from Baltic Professor and Turner Prize-nominated artist Christine Borland. A £9,000 second prize, £6,000 third prize, and discretionary £5000 consolation awards are also available.

Giving something back

“This prize is one way that I can give back to the region and help to nurture talented new artists,” said Woon. ” The North East has a vibrant cultural and artistic energy and this competition enhances the standing of the region in the arts world.”

Finalist Helen McCartney said: “It attracts talent to the North East. I was born in the North East of England, in Durham, so it’s important to me that this area gets the recognition that it deserves nationally.”

This year’s panel of three judges, chaired by Borland, are: Judith King, artistic director of Arts & Heritage; Lisa Le Feuvre, head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute; and Francis McKee, director of CCA Glasgow.

Last year’s winner was Slade graduate Holly Hendry, who will complete her Woon fellowship this summer and will present a solo show at Northumbria University’s Gallery North in September. All of the shortlisted artworks are currently on display at Gallery North until 19 September.

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West Wales School of Art – a-n student blog by Lisa Evans

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