The UK’s first ever community arts prize has launched 1 March, in the face of the Government’s £83m* worth of cuts to arts funding. Hundreds of submissions are expected from across the country from individual artists and art organisations hoping to win the People’s Art Prize, which is being backed by leading British artists Jeremy Deller and Sokari Douglas-Camp.
Sculptor Sokari Douglas-Camp, whose work was shortlisted for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, is the public face of the People’s Art Prize. The award-winning artist says it’s a wake-up call for politicians who call for community cohesion but fail to support art projects that bring communities together.
Douglas-Camp explains: “Community art is magic. Different people come together in a way you just don’t see in other parts of life. Young people, older people, different nationalities and abilities: community art breaks isolation and I’m so excited for this prize to celebrate and support the best of community art happening right now.”
Any visual art is eligible for the prize, from quilting to landscape gardening to sculpture or a film, providing a community was involved in creating it.
The organisers, community arts charity Arts Express, hope that even non-professional artists will apply. Arts Express Director Damion Viney says: “there are two important elements for the prize: the quality of the creation process, and the quality of the final product. We believe art is for everyone, even people who may have never set foot inside a gallery. The People’s Art Prize is about getting people excited about the art happening in their area.”
Viney adds: “Arts funding is taking a battering, and community art has long been the voice of the people – this prize is about shaking things up in an art world that’s mostly sleep-walking through austerity. Community art brings people together, and the government is being short-sighted if it doesn’t see how important that is in Britain today.”
Artists and arts organisations can submit a project online at:
www.peoples-art-prize.co.uk All projects submitted will be publicly showcased on the website and promoted to a national audience.
Entries close on 20 May.