Popular Chichester open art exhibition to expand

Chichester's Oxmarket Stride Open Art Competition is aiming to extend its reach this year.

The open competition team - David Souter, Sophie Hull and Martyn Bell
The open competition team - David Souter, Sophie Hull and Martyn Bell

Oxmarket chairman Martyn Bell said: “It is the only open competition that we have running and functioning at the Oxmarket and has been going for more than ten years. It has always had a high level of interest. It started as just local arts, and it has spread along the coast and towards the north.”

Exhibition organiser David Souter is hoping they will now go further afield - while still offering lots of encouragement for the locals to take part: “We don’t want this to affect the local artists, but we are wanting to move to the next level. We contact most of our local arts societies regularly and let them know that it is going on, and we definitely don’t want to discourage them. We just want to expand. We are targetting art colleges and fine-art colleges. We want to have more students taking part as well.

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“You can put in up to five entries, and we get hundreds and hundreds of entries. We usually whittle that down to about 150 entries for the room, but this year the whole gallery will be used for the exhibition which means that we could be looking at 200 pieces of work.”

David confirmed that sound practice will be a big thing the judges will be looking for: “We are talking about painting and drawing. Basically we are looking for accomplishment, and all sorts of things are important. Mood is important. It is something we need to think about.”

Martyn added: “Entering this competition is a great opportunity for new and established artists. It offers a potential platform for artists to exhibit their work and advance their practice and careers. Participating artists have benefited from the higher profile Oxmarket offers. We are looking forward to receiving increased numbers of entries. Thanks, once again, go to Stride & Co for their sponsorship of the Oxmarket Stride Cup.”

The competition is open to artists living in Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight and covers paintings and drawing. The prizes totalling £1,600 will be awarded in the following categories: £500 – 1st Prize for Painting, award of the Stride Trophy; £250 – 2nd Prize for Painting; £150 – 3rd Prize for Painting; £250: Drawing Prize; £100 – The Lawrence Williams Abstract Prize; £200 – Chairman’s Prize £100 – Best Local Work; and £50 – People’s Choice Prize.

The judges are: David Souter, Stephen Codner and Ian White,

The closing date for entries is September 11. Initially an online selection of works will be made. The selected works will form an exhibition in the whole of the Oxmarket, from which the prize-winners will be chosen. Shortlisted artists will be notified on September 18. The exhibition runs from October 10-22.

The prize-giving and artists’ private view takes place from 6-8pm on Monday, October 9. Delivery of selected work is between September 23-October 1.

Full details on www.oxmarket.com/openart. Phone: 01243 779103, email: [email protected]

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