Gateshead’s Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art has launched a new international art prize with a twist. The biennial Baltic Artists’ Award for emerging artists will be judged solely by artists and aims to provide a ‘step change moment’ in the careers of the four awardees.

For the inaugural edition, artist-judges Monica Bonvicini, Mike Nelson, Pedro Cabrita Reis and Lorna Simpson have each been asked to nominate an emerging artist, of any age or nationality, whose work they have a strong belief in. One of the aims of the new award is to celebrate the often overlooked role of mentor and ‘figure of influence’ that artists embody.

Each nominee will receive £25,000 to create new work and fee of £5,000. The works will feature in a 12-week exhibition to open at Baltic on 30 June 2017.

During the exhibition, members of the public will be invited to vote for their favourite artists’ presentation, with the winner receiving an additional commission that is intended to deepen the engagement between one artist and local communities.

BALTIC Artists’ Award 2017 from BALTIC Archive on Vimeo.

“Baltic has long been host to global creative exchange,” says the gallery’s director Sarah Munro. “We are passionate about supporting artists and engaging audiences.

“Our ambition for this international Artists’ Award is to open up a significant new biennial platform for nurturing emerging global talent and create discursive space for key issues for art, artists and audiences.”

She adds: “At the core of this project is not an award ceremony but a commitment to talent development and dialogue with our audiences at a local, national and international level.

“We want to invite conversation and opinion from them and an exciting legacy project will develop from visitors’ engagement with the exhibition.”

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