Sir John Hurt

Last chance to enter Holt Festival Art Prizes & Open Studios

Sir John Hurt Art Prize, new prize for young artists and Open Studios entries close on 16 June 2019

Time is running out for artists to enter one of the east of England’s top art prizes, the Holt Festival Sir John Hurt Art Prize, as well as Holt Festival’s new prize for younger artists, The Sworders Art Prize. Entries for both close at midnight on Sunday 16 June as do applications to take part in Holt Festival Open Studios.

The Sir John Hurt Prize is named after the screen legend who lived close to Holt and was a great supporter of the Festival and a keen artist. The winning entry will receive a cash prize of £1,750 and be exhibited at Norwich’s internationally renowned Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. The Sworders Prize is open to artists between 16 and 23 and carries a prize of £750 for the winner, who will also be offered a commission-free exhibition by Holt’s new contemporary art space The Gallery in Lees Yard.

In past years the Sir John Hurt Prize has attracted entries form around the eastern region and beyond but artists from Norfolk are especially encouraged to enter. All types of visual art are welcome. The winners will be announced at a private view on the evening of Sunday 21 July with all shortlisted works displayed in a free exhibition in the Auden Theatre Foyer throughout Festival week 11am-5pm daily. 

Holt Festival Open Studios also returns for the second year. Artists and craftsmen from around North Norfolk are invited to apply to take part and welcome the public into their studios between Friday 25 to Sunday 27 July, 11am to 5pm.

Full submission details for both prizes and Open Studios can be found at where there is also information and booking details for all events.

Fine Art Director at the Festival James Glennie said ‘Once again the quality and range of entries is exceedingly high, it seems that every year the judges job gets ever more difficult to shortlist and ultimately select a winner.’

This year’s Art Prize judges are Art Curator & Writer Ian Collins, Professor Paul Greenhalgh, Director of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art and Professor John Last, Vice Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts.

Last year’s winner was Sunset, an oil on canvas painting from Norfolk artist Frances Blythe. 

The 2019 Holt Festival runs from 21 – 27 July. The charming Norfolk Georgian country town comes alive for an exuberant week of international music, drama, visual art, dance, comedy and children’s and family events. The festival opens with a FREE fun packed Town Picnic and Street Party on the afternoon on Sunday 21 June with food, live entertainment and fun around the town and on Gresham’s Pre Prep field.