Sir John Hurt Art Prize
Holt Festival Sir John Hurt Art Prize 2019 Winner: Margie Britz – Blue Moon


Holt Festival today announced that this year’s Sir John Hurt Art Prize and Sworders Art Prize competitions are now open for entries.

Established in 2012, the Holt Festival Sir John Hurt Art Prize is one of East of England’s top art prizes and attracts a wide range of entries from artists across the UK.  In addition to a cash prize of £1,750, the winning work of art will be exhibited at the prestigious Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, Norfolk.

Now in its second year, the Holt Festival Sworders Art Prize is specifically aimed at younger artists aged between 16 and 23 years inclusive.  Together with a cash prize of £750, the winning artist will be offered a commission free exhibition at The Gallery, a contemporary art space in Holt, Norfolk.

James Glennie, Holt Festival Fine Art Director, explained:

“Submissions must be suitable for wall-hanging and can comprise various art forms including painting, drawing, photography, textiles, printmaking, mosaic, sculpture, collage etc.”

Glennie added:

Entries for both competitions close at midnight on Sunday 14 June 2020. Approximately 30 works of art will subsequently be shortlisted, and the winner announced at a private view of the Exhibition of Shortlisted Works on the evening of Sunday 26 July 2020 at The Auden Theatre in Holt.  The Exhibition of Shortlisted Works will then run until Saturday 1 August 2020.”

Entries for this year’s Sir John Hurt Art Prize will be judged by art and architectural historian, Nichola Johnson; curator and publisher, David Case; and award-winning artist, Susan Gunn.  And the Sworders Art Prize entries will be judged by Susan Gunn and publisher and gallery owner, Adrian Hill.

Professor John Last OBE, Vice-Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts and a judge of the Holt Festival Sir John Hurt Art Prize and Sworders Art Prize 2019, said:

“The Sir John Hurt Art Prize is now a major award and exhibition for artists in the East of England and beyond and the Sworders Art Prize for young artists is an excellent addition to the main prize.  As one of the judges of both awards last year, I was impressed by the range and standard of entries which are increasing in number and quality each year.  I look forward to seeing the 2020 exhibition.”

Jess Burgess, who has been shortlisted for the Holt Festival Sir John Hurt Art Prize on three occasions, added:

“The Sir John Hurt Art Prize was the first major exhibition I’ve been part of and has provided me with so many opportunities to develop my painting practice.  As a direct result, I have formed my own network of artists and people working within the arts in Norfolk and London.  The support and feedback received at the Sir John Hurt Art Prize has allowed me to develop more confidence in my ability as a young artist and I don’t think that I would have had the success with recent competitions and exhibitions without that experience.  I’m very grateful to have been involved with such a prestigious prize and for the opportunities which it has opened up for me.”

Holt Festival Sir John Hurt Art Prize 2019 Winner: Margie Britz – Blue Moon

Bringing together the best in fine art, music, theatre, and the spoken word, Holt Festival is a fabulous celebration of the arts and this year takes place from Sunday 26 July until Saturday 1 August 2020.

For more information on Holt Festival and the Sir John Hurt Art Prize and Sworders Art Prize 2020 competitions, including details on how to submit entries, please visit


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