Cumbria Crack

Winner of C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year Announced

Celia Burbush’s latest work and Brian Shields, Crowned and Robed

[T]onight the award was made to the winner of C-Art Artist of the Year 2017.

The award ceremony, held at Rheged, launched C-Art Festival 2017, 10 days of arts activity across Cumbria, and opened C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year Exhibition at Rheged.

Presented by Kevin Beaty, Leader Eden District Council, and Sarah Dunning, CEO of Westmorland ltd, this year the Cumbrian Artist of the Year has been awarded to two joint winners – Celia Burbush and Brian Shields, who both living and make work in Cumbria, and were both shortlisted for the prize in 2016.

Director of Eden Arts, Adrian Lochhead commented ‘It’s great to be able to award the C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year to two deserving winners this year. I’m pleased that the panel voted for these artists equally, as it gives us the opportunity to recognise them both.’  He added ‘of course it is not just about the selected ‘winner’ in this kind of process, the whole point of the exhibition and award is to highlight the strength and quality of work being produced by artists across the county, in order to show all of that we would need a bigger gallery!’.

Young Curator, Holly Cantley said “The level of innovation, experimentation, risk-taking and challenging the traditional was incredibly high and made for a stimulating process during this years selection. However, with great deliberation, I believe that my peers and I have chosen two winners who best reflect our vision as a curating body for C-Art and who have most notably exceeded the criteria to gain the title of Cumbrian Artist of the Year.”

The winners received £500 cash and a trophy created by Charlie Whinney Studio in Witherslack.

Celia Burbush commented “I am absolutely thrilled to have my work spotlighted at Rheged once again. This is the single opportunity in the year for contemporary Cumbrian artists to share and explore with the public, a wide range of subjects, ideas and issues, through the arresting medium of visual art in all its forms.”

Brian Shields added ‘I’m delighted to be Cumbrian Artist of the Year alongside Celia. The exhibition never fails to surprise, showing as it does such a diverse range of artistic practice – conceptual pieces, landscape painting, the abstract to the figurative – all displayed within the same space.’

Taken from over 80 entries, the shortlist  and winners are selected by a group of 6 Young Curators aged 20-24yrs mentored by Thomas Dukes, curator at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, and Ainslie Roddick, curator at Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow.

Now it’s over to the visitors to the exhibition, each visitor can vote for their favourite artist in the exhibition as the ‘People’s Choice’. The artist with the most votes when the exhibition draws to a close will be awarded on 5th November.

C-Art’s team of Young Curators worked with experts from the prestigious CCA in Glasgow and Open Eye in Liverpool to select 36 artists for the exhibition from the 82 submitted.  In recent years the exhibition, that champions the diverse brilliance of Cumbria’s contemporary artists has proved to be hugely popular, last year’s exhibition seeing 22,000 visitors.  This year the exhibition runs from 9th September to 5th November at Rheged alongside a number of exciting new elements to form the C-Art Festival.

C-Art Festival sees a host of events from exhibitions, art fair, live music, poetry, performance and C-Art Open Studios and Art in Extraordinary Places taking place from 8th – 17th September. Visit for more information.

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