John Hurt Art Prize
Sir John Hurt with a past Art Prize winner Katherine Hamilton

There is still time to enter the Holt Festival – Sir John Hurt Art Prize  – but artists need to hurry as entries close at midnight on Sunday (18 June).

Named in honour of one of Norfolk’s most famous adopted sons, the screen legend Sir John Hurt, it has rapidly become one of the top art events in the calendar. Sir John was a great art enthusiast serving on the Holt Festival Art Prize panel of judges and presenting the award before his untimely death in January.

It attracts entries by artists from all over the UK, eager to win not only the winner’s cash prize of £1,500 and the opportunity to be exhibited at Norwich’s Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts but perhaps most of all the prestige of winning such a coveted award.

All types of visual art are welcome and following the deadline, judges will select a shortlist of 25-30 that will be exhibited at the Auden Theatre, Holt from 23-30 July 2017.

The winner will be announced at a private view on the evening of 23 July. The exhibition is part of the Holt Festival Art Trail that also takes in many other galleries and exhibition spaces around the town.

Last year’s competition once again attracted an extremely high standard of entries with Norfolk artist Lara Cobden winning with her painting The Enchanted Garden, unanimously selected from almost 200 entries.

Alongside his amazing acting career the late Sir John Hurt was a gifted painter. He attended The Grimsby Art School (now the East Coast School of Art and Design) at 17 and in 1959 he won a scholarship to Saint Martin’s School of Art (now Central St. Martin’s) in London. He continued to paint throughout his life and was passionately interested in encouraging others, in recent years becoming Chancellor of Norwich University of The Arts.

Holt Festival Art Prize
Sir John Hurt with his friend Julie Christie

Holt Festival Art Prize organiser and international art appraiser James Glennie commented ‘This is the first year of the prize being renamed after Sir John and we already have a flood of entries from around the country. The last few days before the deadline are always the busiest so the judges expect to have their usual difficulties in selecting a shortlist from a very high standard of entries.’

This year’s judges are well-known Modern and Contemporary British art specialist Robert Upstone who spent 23 years as a senior Tate curator, Amanda Geitner, Director of The East Anglia Art Fund and Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Acting Deputy Director and Head of Collections Calvin Winner.

Entry forms can be downloaded from

The 2017 Holt Festival runs from 22 – 30 July and has become acknowledged as the leading new festival in the county. The charming Norfolk Georgian country town comes alive for an exuberant week of international music, drama, visual art, dance, comedy and children’s shows. It has just announced its first 14 highlights and the full programme see: