A Top South Yorkshire Art Competition Returns

The Cooper Prize 2023, presented by the Cooper Trustees, has opened and welcomes submissions from artists at all stages in their careers.

The prestigious prize was a huge success in 2021 and received hundreds of entries from artists including established professionals, amateurs, emerging recent graduates, and students. 

With its tagline “Celebrating artists across South Yorkshire”, the only stipulation is that entrants were born in the metropolitan county, including the boroughs of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield, or that entrants currently live or work within the South Yorkshire boundary.

The Cooper Prize aims to reward and celebrate excellence and originality in mixed media, and artists have until midnight on Tuesday, 29 August to submit up to three pieces of artwork. 

Shortlisted artists will be notified at the beginning of October and successful submissions will be displayed in a group exhibition, opening on Saturday, 28 October 2023.

The judging panel reviewing entries have been handpicked for their expertise, and all kinds of artworks are encouraged – abstract, figurative, contemporary, or traditional. Pieces can span any media, from watercolours to sculpture, and the previous winner Kieran Ingram was successful with his contemporary, dystopian look at Adam and Eve’s transgression and expulsion from the Garden of Eden. 

For those who wish the enter the competition, the entry fee has been reduced to help support local artists. The cost of entry to the main Cooper Prize is £10, The Sadler Award for Emerging Artists is £5 and The Fox Gift for under-16s is free to enter. A People’s Choice Award will also be awarded. 

The overall winner receives £1,000 in prize money, sponsored by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, along with a solo exhibition in Autumn 2024 in the intimate and elegant space of the Sadler Room. 

The Sadler Award is worth £500, sponsored by the Mayor of Barnsley, Fox Gift winner for U16s will receive a £100 voucher for art materials. 

Jon Finch, Head of Culture and Visitor Economy, said: “The Cooper Gallery and its Trustees are hugely supportive of local artistic talent. They are aware of how important art and creativity are to individuals, communities, and the economy. This competition is an important way to raise the profile of artists in the region and shine a spotlight on Barnsley as a creative hub. We hope the prizes will take artists further on their journey, offering them greater opportunities and inspiration to create more outstanding artwork.”