The Cooper Prize 2021

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Kyte Photography

The Cooper Prize 2021 at Cooper Gallery, Barnsley 15 December 2020 — 31 January 2021 Tickets from £5 — Book now

Barnsley’s Cooper Gallery is looking forward to the spring, when it will reveal the finalists of The Cooper Prize 2021 Open Art Competition with a special exhibition.

The inaugural Cooper Prize picks up where the prestigious and long-running South Yorkshire Open left off, and invites submissions from artists at all stages in their career.

The inaugural Cooper Prize picks up where the prestigious and long-running South Yorkshire Open left off, and invites submissions from artists at all stages in their career, be they established professionals and amateurs or emerging recent graduates and students. With its tagline “Celebrating artists across South Yorkshire”, the only stipulation is that entrants were born in the metropolitan county, including the boroughs of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, or that entrants currently live or work within the South Yorkshire boundary.

The Cooper Prize aims to reward and celebrate excellence and originality in mixed media, and artists have until midnight on Sunday 31 January to submit up to three pieces of artwork each. Shortlisted artists will be notified on Monday 1 March and the best will then be hung at the Cooper Gallery ready for a grand opening of the group exhibition at the end of March.

The judging panel reviewing submissions have been handpicked for their expertise, and all kinds of artworks are encouraged – abstract, figurative, contemporary or traditional. Pieces can span any media, from watercolours to sculpture, and previous winners and runners-up in the South Yorkshire Open included pointillist painters and architecture photographers, so you can expect a varied exhibition showcasing a range of talent. Running for almost three months from Saturday 20 March to Saturday 12 June, you’ll have plenty of time to pop in to the well-loved vibrant and creative visual arts space in the heart of Barnsley.

If you fancy your hand at the competition, the entry fee has been reduced this year to help support local artists during these uncertain times. The cost of entry to the main Cooper Prize is £10, The Sadler Award for Emerging Artists is £5 and The Fox Gift for under-16s is free to enter. A People’s Choice Award will also be awarded. The overall winner receives £1,000 in prize money, sponsored by The Cooper Trustees, along with a solo exhibition, in 2022, in the intimate and elegant space that is the Sadler Room. The Sadler Award is worth £500 plus the use, for six months, of one of the two newly renovated artist studio units in Cooper Cottage, providing a modern but characterful workspace overlooking the rear courtyard adjacent to the Cooper Gallery.

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