Award to showcase the best of modern art

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A COLLECTIVE of Leeds-based artists has set up a new award to celebrate contemporary art.

The Woolgather Art Prize is an experimental showcase of contemporary artists based in West Yorkshire and has just announced a 22-strong shortlist.

Their work will be presented in Dyson Chambers, Leeds, from May 6. The winners will be decided by the viewing public who are being invited to to vote for their favourite when they visit the exhibition.

First prize is £500, with £250 going to the runner-up and £150 for third. The winners will be announced on May 20.

Organiser John Slemensek said: “As recent graduates in the city of Leeds, we, as artists, are experiencing a situation of, no money, no tangible grasp of a creative job, not enough critical discourse for our work and no easy way of reaching a public audience.

“Through a belief that our city can, and hopefully wants to offer more, the Woolgather Art Prize was set up.

“In Leeds there are not hundreds of creative jobs waiting for you.

“We set up the art prize to make an opprtunity for ourselves and other people who are trying to sell and produce art. We want to set up an artist community and a relationship with the public.”

More than 100 artists entered the competition with the shortlist drawn from Leeds students, local artists and directors.

One of those on the shortlist, Liz West, a self-employed Huddersfield-based artist and former Leeds College of Art student, said: “I liked the ethos of it and thought it was a great way of promoting artists in the West Yorkshire region.”

Profiles for all those on the shortlist are on the Woolgather Art prize website.

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