Cumbria Crack

New Castlegate national art prize raises £12,000 for youth mental health charity

Nearly 700 entries received for Cumbrian gallery’s inaugural competition
Castlegate Gallery owners Steve and Christine Swallow, at their gallery in Cockermouth

A major new national art prize launched by Cockermouth’s Castlegate Gallery has raised more than £12,000 for mental health charity YoungMinds.

Close to 700 entries were received for the prestigious new award by the time entries closed on Friday. (Feb 14). Artists had to take the word ‘Hope’ as the inspiration for their painting or drawing.

The inaugural £10,000 prize is being funded by the gallery with all the entry fees going directly to the UK’s leading charity fighting for young people’s mental health.

Gallery owner Steve Swallow said: “The response we’ve had from artists right across the UK has been astounding. What’s been so fascinating to see is how the theme of ‘hope’ has been used – in some instances overtly, in others the mere fact of producing the work has given hope at difficult times. A variety of responses we could never have imagined.

“We’re delighted with being able to support YoungMinds with in excess of £12,000, wholly down to the support and enthusiasm of artists from across the UK, from 17 to 80, both amateur and professional.”

The money will be handed over when the winner is revealed at the opening of the prize exhibition at Castlegate Gallery on Saturday May 2.

Meanwhile Steve and his wife Christine face the difficult task of whittling down the 700 or so entries to a longlist of 60 before the prize judges choose their final shortlist of 30 paintings or drawings.

Judges for the prize with Steve and Christine will be respected British contemporary painter and printmaker Eileen Cooper RA, OBE; former John Moores Painting Prize winner Martin Greenland; and writer, broadcaster and journalist Stuart Maconie.

“Going through all the entries over the coming two weeks to narrow it down to an initial list of sixty will be a tough but hugely enjoyable task,” said Steve.

“From what we’ve seen already, the breadth of work is extensive and the quality very high – we’re thoroughly looking forward to it.”

Castlegate House Gallery specialises in the best 20th century and contemporary British artists such as David Hockney, Sheila Fell, Frank Auerbach, Grayson Perry, Leon Kossoff, Winifred Nicholson, and Norman Cornish. It also champions young talented artists such as Alex Hain, William Reinsch and Louis Appleby.

YoungMinds works with young people throughout the UK, campaigning for change and raising awareness so that all young people get the help and support they need for their mental health. The charity also runs a free Parents Helpline that supports parents and carers who are worried about a young person.

Entries for the first Castlegate Prize opened on November 23 and closed on February 14. Entry fees were £20 for single entries with a discount for multiple entries. The winner will be revealed at the gallery on May 2 with the best 30 works exhibited for the following three weeks.

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