The People’s Art Prize is here

Anyone from amateurs to professionals can enter this new competition for visual art. And it all started in south London

Did you know the UK’s first ever community arts prize launched this month, in the face of the government’s massive cuts?

A mosaic created by Soho Parish Primary School
A mosaic created by Art4Space

Even better, its origins are in south London, where community charity Arts Express have run projects, workshops and programmes for the last 15 years. Their schtick? To make the creation a work of art available to everyone. And now they’ve teamed up with Curious Kid, a London-based social enterprise, to create the People’s Art Prize, which will award the winners £1K in cash.

And the organisers are expecting hundreds of submissions from both individual artists and art organisations hoping to win, backed by leading Brit artists Jeremy Deller and Sokari Douglas-Camp.

Sculptor Sokari Douglas-Camp, whose work was shortlisted for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, is heading the jury. He reckons it’s a wake-up call for politicians who call for community cohesion but fail to support art projects that bring communities together.

“Community art is magic,” he says. “Different people come together in a way you just don’t see in other parts of life. Families, older people, different nationalities and abilities: it breaks isolation and I’m so excited for this prize to celebrate and support the best of community art happening right now. ”

​Any visual art is eligible for the prize, from quilting to landscape gardening to sculpture or a film, providing a community was involved in creating it. Watch this:

“There are two important elements for the prize: the quality of the creation process, and the quality of the final product,” concludes Damion Viney from Arts Express. “We believe art is for everyone, even people who may have never set foot inside a gallery. The People’s Art Prize is about getting people excited about the art happening in their area.”

And one thing’s for sure: we know you lot love where you live.

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Artists and arts organisations can submit here. All projects publicly showcased on the site. Entries close on 30 April, and a shortlist will be announced in May. The People’s Art Prize will be awarded at a ceremony in June.​

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