Derbyshire artist Kerri Pratt wins Jonathan Vickers Award

kerri-pratt-still-waters-run-dee-162375_mediumArtist Kerri Pratt has today been announced as the winner of the sixth Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award in Derbyshire.

Kerri, who studied at the University of Derby and has been working from Harrington Mill Studios in Long Eaton for the past two years, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be the sixth winner of the prestigious award and look forward to my time developing work derived from my home county of Derbyshire.

“This award means so much to me, as it is a rare luxury for an artist to have unimpeded time to submerge oneself in the county and learn the secrets and stories of a place, its past, and make connections with the here and now; I’m looking forward to this challenge.”

The biennial art award is one of the largest in the country and engages a rising artist to produce work inspired by Derbyshire’s landscape, heritage and people.

The theme for the sixth award is a Sense of Place with a focus on Our Treasure Houses, for which Derbyshire is renowned.

The last winner, Bartholomew Beal, who is now working in London, will hold his first solo exhibition since leaving Derbyshire at the prestigious Fine Art Society Contemporary this month.

He is full of praise for the award and the support it gave him saying: “As a young artist, fresh from art college, my time in Derbyshire, and the support I received from Derbyshire Community Foundation’s team,  gave me the security and freedom to experiment and to explore what I wanted to do as an artist. It was a rare privilege and one I will never forget.”

The award is open to emerging painters from across the UK with the successful artist receiving a nine month residency at the Banks Mill Studio, a bursary of £18,000, a contribution to the cost of materials and on-going support and mentoring from the University of Derby’s faculty of arts, design and technology. It is fast becoming one of the most coveted, prestigious and nationally recognised Art Awards in the UK.

During the nine month residency, Kerri will produce a portfolio of new work for a solo exhibition at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

She will contribute five days of teaching at the University of Derby’s faculty of arts, design and technology and lead a series of educational workshops in the community, supported by funding from Rolls-Royce plc.

Collaboration with the University of Derby’s faculty of arts, design and technology will enable art students to gain valuable insight from the experience and practices of a working artist.

Rachael Grime, chief executive of Derbyshire Community Foundation said: “The award continues to attract more artists each time it is launched and this year’s applicants were of an extremely high standard yet again.

“Community engagement is an important element of the residency and we are confident we have found the right person, as well as a talented artist, to act as an ambassador for the award and Derbyshire Community Foundation.”

The nine month residency runs from October 2014 to  June 2015. The final exhibition will be held at Derby Museum and Art Gallery from  September 19 2015 to January 17 2016.

Previous winners of the award have included not only Bartholomew Beal but  Natalie Dowse (2007/08), Helena Ben Zenou (2005/06), Kerry Harker (2003/04) and Lewis Noble (2001/2).