The Cooper Prize 2023

The Cooper Prize 2023

The Cooper Prize, formerly known as South Yorkshire Open Art Competition, is open to artists who are born, live or work in South Yorkshire and aims to reward and celebrate excellence and originality in mixed media.

Artists are invited to submit up to three pieces of artwork, whether it be abstract, figurative, contemporary or traditional where the very best will be selected to form part of an exhibition at The Cooper Gallery, Barnsley.

The competition is open to professional, amateur or student artists and shortlisted entries will feature in an exhibition at the gallery, 28 October – 6 April 2024.

See our playlist of some of the artists that have submitted their work for The Cooper Prize.


The Cooper Prize - Main Prize

  • £1000, Sponsored by Oliver Coppard, Mayor of South Yorkshire 
  • Solo Exhibition in Sadler Room 2024
  • Main gallery group exhibition with Cooper Prize Finalists

The Sadler Award - Emerging Artist

Open to any student or graduate that has graduated within the past two years

  • £500 Sponsored by the Mayor of Barnsley
  • Main gallery group exhibition with Cooper Prize Finalists


Barnsley College Special Award for Originality and Skills

Judged by Liz Leek, Deputy Principal Culture, Place & Communities, Barnsley College


The Fox Gift - Artists under 16, Free to enter

Under 16s category

  • £100 vouchers to spend on Artist Materials
  • Main gallery group exhibition with Cooper Prize Finalists

Peoples Choice - sponsored by Barnsley Museums & Heritage Trust                           

  • Certificate
  • Hamper of artists supplies 


  • Andrew Dunkley, In House -Tate Photographer
  • David Sinclair, Director of Programme, Nottingham New Art Exchange
  • Fiona Stephenson, DC Comic Illustrator, Pop Artist & Local Business Woman
  • Claire Paddison, Mayoral Officer, MA Eighteenth Century Studies in History of Art & Literature

Throughout the exhibition there will be a chance for visitors to vote for their favourite piece.

The artist who receives the most votes will win.

Submissions for the competition are now closed, thank you to everyone who has entered! 

Artists selected for the final exhibition will be contacted by email around Monday 2 October by member of the curatorial team with full delivery details for their work. Artists who have not heard by this date may contact 

We ask that shortlisted artists deliver their work to the gallery between Fri 13– Sat 21 October. The exhibition dates are 28 October – 6 April 2024  


Previous winners of the prize included

Fox Gift

Fox Gift

Winner - Charlie Wilding, Moonlight, pencil