Society will reward best newcomer

Another week and another chance to focus on one of the categories for the inaugural Culture Awards.

Another week and another chance to focus on one of the categories for the inaugural Culture Awards.

Taking place on March 26 at the newly-opened Northern Stage in Newcastle, the awards have been organised to recognise and celebrate the achievements of arts and culture organisations, projects and individuals across the whole of the North-East who have contributed to the thriving and vibrant region we live in.

We've been encouraging readers of The Journal and Culture magazine to send us their nominations and have been inundated with ideas on who should be given what at the ceremony. There's still a few weeks until the deadline for nominations, so please, keep them coming.

This week we're focusing on the Newcomer of the Year award, sponsored by Newcastle Building Society. This award will recognise a North-East visual artist, performer, writer or visual artist who has exhibited, performed or been brought to the public's attention for the first time in 2006.

Colin Seccombe, chief executive, Newcastle Building Society says he is delighted to be involved with the Culture Awards.

"The North-East has undergone considerable change in recent years, both in its physical appearance and rising economic fortunes. Instantly recognisable images such as the Millennium Bridge and the Angel of the North are obvious examples of this, and have certainly inspired greater pride and confidence in our region.

"Equally important to this regeneration has been the artistic and cultural contribution from a range of home-grown talent. We are therefore delighted to back these awards which recognise and celebrate the quality of work this region has to offer.

"Perhaps it is because of the depth of talent on show that we are sponsoring the Newcomer of the Year Award category. When standards are so high, getting noticed can be the hardest challenge for young people trying to establish themselves. It is also a fact that a strong future in any environment depends on newcomers coming through.

"As a mutual organisation with strong local roots, Newcastle Building Society has always worked hard to promote our region and support its communities.

"Each year we donate around £100,000 to locally-based charities and worthy causes. Encouraging and nurturing young talent is a key element of our support, and can include funding for a host of sport, music and arts-based projects.

"Sponsoring The Journal's Arts and Culture Awards is a logical extension of this. We hope our involvement will help inspire and motivate many budding young artists in the North-East."

* Anyone can nominate a person, event or organisation to win one of the Culture Awards. To make your nomination, visit uk/cultureawards, www.thejournal or request a form from Julie Moorhouse on (0191) 201-6119 or email julie.moorhouse@ncj


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer