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Art competition The People Show is returning, thanks to donation in memory of Norman Cornish

Both professional and amateur artists can enter the competition with artworks about 'people' and will be in with a chance of winning the £5,000 prize

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Norman Cornish in his home studio in Spennymoor

It has been six years since the last People Show art competition in Newcastle.

But the region’s most celebrated open contest of artistic endeavour is returning, with a major new £5,000 art prize attached to it.

The Norman Cornish Art Prize is being generously donated by the artist’s family in memory of the much-loved painter, who died last year at the age of 94.

Organised by the University Gallery in association with the Solution Group, the competition is designed to foster the creative talent of the North East.

Artists of amateur and professional status based in the region are invited to submit entries in any recognised medium, as long as the subject-matter is about people.

The People Show dates back around 20 years and the last show was held at the University Gallery in 2008-2009.

University Gallery director Mara-Helen Wood says: “We have wanted to resurrect The People Show for a number of years and we now have a slot in the programme to make this possible. With the new prize, we have a very significant competition.

“The theme allows for any interpretation of people, in any recognised medium including painting, drawing, print-making, drawing and photography.”

Shortlisted works will be included in a major exhibition at the University Gallery from November 6 to January 22, 2016, when the £5,000 Norman Cornish Art Prize will be awarded to the single most significant work in the exhibition.

The most popular work in the exhibition will also receive the People’s Choice Prize of £250, voted for by the public.

Mara-Helen says: “The gallery is approaching its 40th anniversary in 2017 we are delighted to bring back an extremely popular competition which will help mark the build-up to this celebration.

“Norman Cornish’s family are very keen to support The People Show and the new prize is being given by his Estate. It is a way for his family to support new young artists.

“Norman never received a penny in his lifetime by way of a grant or award, but was always encouraging and happy to advise young artists,” she continues. “This is an opportunity for his name to be associated with discovering talented, emerging artists in the region.”

The prizes will be selected from shortlisted works by a panel of judges including art critic William Varley in addition to artists Dale Atkinson and Brita Granström, who herself came runner-up in the People Show 2008 with her portrait ‘Brushing Hair’.

Entry forms for The People Show are available online at www.universitygallery.co.uk and from the University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, from 10 April 2015. You can contact the gallery on 0191 227 4424. The deadline for entries is October 1, 2015.

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