Local artists gather to celebrate at the annual Dorset Arts Prize awards

After a record number of submissions for this year’s Dorset Arts Prize, artists, schools and community groups gathered at Bournemouth & Poole College’s Digital Design Centre for a showcase of the winner’s work.

The Dorset Arts Prize launched four years ago by Bournemouth & Poole College and was created to encourage and help create a broader, more inclusive vision for the arts locally. Open to all Dorset artists, designers and makers working in all media types, the prize is designed to actively engage the community.

Since its launch, the prize has received more than 650 submissions, awarded more than £30,000 in prizes, and each year the judges have continued to be impressed with the quality of the entries. This year’s prize was no exception, and with the introduction of two new prizes last year – The Schools Art Prize and The Community Prize, judges were overwhelmed by the entries received across all winning groups.

The winners were chosen by a judging panel, which once again included international artist and former student Stuart Semple, international photographer Tony Worobiec and Michael Spender, museum and arts manager for the Borough of Poole.

The prize is funded by the College and The Dorset Community Foundation Trust and has grown to be a valuable art competition within Dorset with almost £9,000 worth of prizes to be won each year.

The Student Bursary prize is one of the largest, with £2,500 being awarded to Salwa Alsaka who joined the College last year. Within the year Salwa has successfully completed not only her Level one in Art and Design but also her Level two Diploma/Certificate. As commented by Martin Outhwaite, learning manager for art and design at the College: “Her commitment and standard of work have been exemplary.” Salwa said: “I am so happy to have won, I can’t believe it. When I finish my course here at the College, I want to go onto university so the award as well as the course is certainly going to help me in my future career.”

Second place in the Year 10 and Year 11 category was awarded to Ella Pullinger from Poole High School, for her mixed media version of a stag on wood. Ella said: “I can’t believe I’ve won £500. My teachers encouraged me to enter; I never thought I’d win a prize. I am going to put the money towards a laptop to help with my work.”

Libby Wellman, also from Poole High School won £250 for third place in the same category. Her submission from her GCSE coursework focused on pointillism, an area she is particularly interested in. Libby said: “Winning this award is fantastic. I am going to put the money towards specialist pens which can be quite expensive for this type of art. It’s really going to enhance the quality of my work.”

In the over 19 category, Nicola Stockley was awarded the £1,000 prize. Nicky submitted a piece from her BA (Hons) Degree show which is about today’s society and is part of a series. Nicky said: “The Arts Prize is a really good opportunity to showcase my work. I have recently set up my own business – arts classes for adults and elderly people and the money is going to help me purchases materials.”

Diane Grannell, Bournemouth & Poole College principal, said “Once again we have been overwhelmed by the standard of entries and we would like to thank everyone who took the time and effort to participate in the competition.

“We have been particularly impressed by the diverse standard of entries from the local schools and it is wonderful to see how much creativity we have in our local communities.”


The full list of winners are as follows:

The Art Prize for the Yr 10 and Yr 11 category

  • 1st Prize of £1,000 – Phoebe Lovell Payne, Parkstone Grammar
  • 2nd Prize of £500 – Ella Pullinger, Poole High School
  • 3rd Prize of £250 – Libby Wellman, Poole High School
  • Highly Commended – Christine Mancera – St Mary’s Shaftesbury

The Art Prize for the Yr 12 and Yr 13 category

  • 1st Prize of £1,000 – Martha Cooke, Parkstone Grammar School
  • 2nd Prize of £500 – Esme Dougherty-Price, The Bishop of Winchester School
  • 3rd Prize of £250 – Katie Cray – Parkstone Grammar School
  • Highly Commended – Ginevra Ranieri – Poole High School

The Art Prize for the over 19 category

  • 1st Prize of £1,000 – Nicola Stockley
  • 2nd Prize of £500 – Penny Crichton-Seager
  • 3rd Prize of £250 – Barbara Davis

The School prize

  • Went to The Bishop of Winchester School

The Community Prize

  • E.D.A.S


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