Published: 15:10, 11 March 2015
The waiting was over last week for artists from across Kent and other counties around the south east, when the winner of one of the biggest artistic awards in the South East was revealed.
Eminent Kent artists Graham Clarke and Ralph Steadman announced the winner of the 2015 Bentlif Open Art Prize as John Dupret from Worthing for his oil on canvas piece entitled "Waa gwan wid you today?”: The Urban Warrior at Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery on Friday, March 13.
About 100 artworks had been shortlisted to make up the accompanying exhibition at Maidstone Museum, which opened to the public on Saturday, March 14, until Sunday, May 3.
The resulting collection includes everything from fine rural landscape watercolours to abstract impressionism, sculptures and even some augmented reality.
The Bentlif Open Art Prize provides artists with a platform to exhibit their work over the course of the two-month exhibition, as well as offering a £500 prize for the winner.
Nearly 250 entries were submitted for consideration by the selection panel, who decided which pieces to feature in the exhibition.
Committee chairman Tim Day said: “The response has been fantastic: the quantity and quality of submissions far exceeded our previous exhibitions and demonstrates just how many accomplished artists we have in the south east. It is has been a very difficult task to shortlist all these excellent entries for hanging, even with the extended galleries we now have it is simply not possible to hang all of the artworks we receive.”
He added: “I am confident that what we have included will make a very impressive and varied exhibition. Congratulations to all successful artists.”
Highly commended artists included: Richard Want from Ashford for his acrylic works ‘Royal Military Canal’ & ‘Cosway Monument, Bilsington’; Bradley Lowe from Maidstone for his acrylic work ‘Poppies at St Margaret’; Cas Holmes from Maidstone for her textiles work ‘Bee Mapping’; Ali Farmer from Maidstone for his taxidermy work ‘The Drunken Duck’; Suzie Dafforn from Maidstone for her charcoal drawing ‘The Rook’.
In addition to the prize, a People’s Choice winner will be the work with the most votes from visitors, to be counted when the exhibition closes on May 3.
The artist will be offered free space to exhibit in the museum’s Brenchley Cafe Gallery in early 2016.
Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free. Visit www.museum.maidstone.gov.uk
Artist and poet Rosemary McLeish love of a good rummage has inspired the name of her exhibition, Boot Fair Art.
Rosemary, who is currently showing her work at the Fleur de Lis Museum and Gallery in Faversham until Monday, March 30, said: “I am always experimenting with new ways of exhibiting poetry and including poems in my art works.
“This has led to the current exhibition, which has developed from the idea of making tributes to people who have inspired me, many of whom are writers. I love transforming broken, worn, unwanted items into things of beauty, and I’m particularly attracted to pieces that remind me of the world of my childhood.”
The museum and gallery are open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm and on Sunday from 10am to 1pm. Entry costs £5 for adults and £1.50 for children. Visit www.faversham.org