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Winner Announced for the Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2020

L-R Sophia Newton, Paul Kondras, Zoe Forster, Jocelyn Arnold, Melissa Galley, Emily Ford and Deirdre Nelson

The Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2020, and two additional Highly Commended prizes have been revealed at a special preview of the exhibition on Friday 28th February 2020.

The sixth edition of the exhibition is open to the public between 02 March – 20th March at the Vallum Gallery, Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbia, where the winning artists works are on display alongside work from 17 other young talented Cumbrian artists.

Melissa Galley from Ulverston is awarded The Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2020

The winner of the sixth edition of the exhibition was announced as Melissa Galley, 21 from Ulverston who wins the £250 cash prize and the opportunity to take up a short residency at Penrith Old Fire Station as part of Eden Arts’ Artist Spare Room programme.

Melissa Galley’s work, explores the central themes of the right to inhabit space, cities, expanded writing and landscape and are a response to her time studying in Manchester and the wildfires which burnt there in 2018.  She was chosen by a panel of judges comprised of Paul Kondras, White Elephant Gallery Morecambe, Sophia Newton, Flock marketing and PR in Windermere and Deirdre Nelson, Artist based in Glasgow who selected the winner from over 40 entries.

Melissa commented ‘It’s totally unexpected to win the Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2020! I was shortlisted for the award last year and then re-entered. It’s amazing to be able to exhibit my work and have my family come to see it, my mum, dad and little sister are here with me tonight’

Judge Deirdre Nelson commented ‘Melissa’s work was really well presented and of a professional gallery standard. She is a deserving winner and is producing some really interesting and intelligent work’

The judges found it too difficult to choose two highly commended awards and decided to award this accolade to three young artists. Emily Ford, 15 from Carlisle, Zoe Forster, 23 from Silloth, and Jocelyn Arnold, 17 from Windermere who all produced some incredibly personal works. The Highly Commended awards of £125 cash thanks to sponsorship from The University of Cumbria.

At a speech given at the Private View for the exhibition, Deputy Director Heather Walker commented on the importance of championing young people in the area, and fostering the skills, ambition and resources to encourage them to stay in Cumbria, or return after University to help reduce the super ageing population in the county.

The Young Cumbrian Artist of the Year received entries from 15 – 24 year olds of all mediums from across the county, and also students from Cumbria who are studying elsewhere. Twenty of these were then selected to exhibit at the University, and also feature in an online gallery on the Eden Arts website which will stay live after the exhibition has ended.

Judge Paul Kondras commented ‘It was a challenge and a pleasure to see so many interesting submissions for YCAOTY. What a dilemma? How do you compare an established graduate to an aspiring student, to a craft based designer, to a young school girl who expressed her love for her dog in such an honest and heartfelt art work?
It’s impossible, but each category I hope will be acknowledged, encouraged and nurtured, because I firmly believe the visual arts and their relevance to young people will change our communities for the better.’

The exhibition at The Vallum Gallery, Brampton Road Campus, University of Cumbria is open to the public Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm until March 20th 2020.

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