Peninsula Arts

Judging panel and prizes announced for Plymouth Young Contemporary Open

A panel of influential artists and curators from across the South West will judge the entries for the first Plymouth Young Contemporary Open.

The competition is designed to showcase the incredible talent of the area’s children and young people, and is open to anyone aged four to 30 who is living, working or studying in the Plymouth area.

The prizes include everything from arts materials and advice sessions through to a series of commissions, with all selected finalists having their work shown in a dual-site exhibition – at the Peninsula Arts Gallery and the Radiant Gallery – in July this year.

Entries close on Friday 08 April, and once submitted they will be judged by a high profile panel based within Plymouth and across Devon and Cornwall.

That panel will consist of Dr Sarah Chapman (Peninsula Arts), Ray White (Effervescent), Blair Todd (Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange), David Butler (LifeWorkArt) and Donna Howard (KARST).

Each judge brings a wealth of experience and insight that will help the young artists understand the process of curating and exhibiting art for the public to view as, for many of them, this will be the first time their work will be seen in public.

Blair Todd, exhibitions curator and deputy director at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, said: “There is an energy to the arts in Plymouth, right across the spectrum of creating, exhibiting and learning. Art makes us better people and whatever makes us better people should be supported and seen.”

The Plymouth Young Contemporary Open is being coordinated by Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University and Effervescent, with associated partners Plymouth Culture, Radiant Gallery, Plymouth History Centre, Karst, Ocean Studios, Plymouth Arts Centre and Plymouth College of Art.

It follows the incredibly successful Plymouth Contemporary Open, the result of a collaboration between Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University and the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery which was held for the first time in 2015.

The competition aims to make the process of producing contemporary art fun, accessible and relevant to young people, inviting them to complete works in photography, installation, sculpture, performance, film and more.

This year’s theme is GROW and young people are being asked to think about what this means to them and how they can respond to or interpret the idea.

Dr Sarah Chapman, director of Peninsula Arts, said: “Plymouth is gaining a reputation for its work to support both established and emerging artists and this new competition is further evidence of that. The support we have already generated – including the backing of Plymouth Culture – demonstrates this event’s potential importance to the local arts community and the city as a whole. Just as the Plymouth Contemporary Open was a huge success in drawing entrants from across the UK and Europe, we hope the PYCO will become a vibrant new platform for showcasing young talent from the Plymouth area.”

Ray White, curator at the Radiant Gallery, added: “Contemporary art, at its best, challenges our perceptions of society. It pushes the boundaries of creative ability, and does so through any vehicle you can imagine – photography, installation, sculpture, painting, text, performance, whatever your imagination can create. I’m really looking forward to seeing how people interpret the theme GROW.”

For more information about the Plymouth Young Contemporary Open and how to enter, visit

The deadline for entries to be submitted is Friday, April 8.


(from a press release)