An endowment fund set up in 1998, by Peggy Nonhebel (née Dover) with County Durham Community Foundation – the Dover Family Fund – to promote art and the education of art in and around Darlington has relaunched today (27th July) and is now open for applications with a prize fund of £10,000.

Background to the Dover Prize 

The Dover Prize Exhibition began in 1998 and was a replacement to the Silver Longboat Competition, which ran from 1985 and set up by Hydro Polymers -a plastics manufacturer in Newton Aycliffe and Darlington. The Longboat made reference to the Norwegian origins of Hydro Polymers, Norsk Hydro. The annual art award, which attracted an average of 300 applicants from across the North East, provided prize money of £500 to the winner along with a silver longboat trophy. In 1998, Peggy Nonhebel (née Dover) set up an endowment – the Dover Family Fund – to help the Silver Longboat competition to continue in perpetuity, and to promote art and the education of art in and around Darlington.
County Durham Community Foundation commissioned a report in 2015 to investigate how the scheme could be developed in order to attract national applications and has increased the prize fund to £10,000.

Dover Prize 2016

The Dover Prize today is a 2-year bursary of £10,000 that will support excellence and experimentation in the arts and creative industries. The bursary will be awarded to an artist or artists to provide them with time to think, research, reflect and/or experiment with new ideas that will create work to be premiered in Darlington. This opportunity is open to any UK-based creative practitioner, individual or collective and will be awarded for work that meets the aims of the Dover Prize in raising the profile of contemporary arts in Darlington to make a positive impact on the town. 

Jane Tarr, Newcastle Arts Council England commented:

“This prize fund looks like a really interesting and significant artist opportunity – the way it’s structured really struck me as thoughtful and yet open – and I am delighted to be involved.”

Stephen Wiper, Creative Darlington manager said: 

“Creative Darlington and Darlington Borough Council are delighted to support the Dover Prize bursary to encourage and support innovative, contemporary arts practice in the area.”

Lynda Docherty, Darlington Arts Society said:

“Having been involved with the Dover Prize in Darlington since its inception, I am delighted that the competition is to continue. The new format is exciting. It is a bold move, and I hope, with the continued support of Darlington Borough Council and the County Durham Community Foundation, the Dover Prize will go from strength to strength.”

Barbara Gubbins, Chief Executive of County Durham Community Foundation (CDCF) added: 

“We have taken a fresh look at the Dover Prize to raise the profile and draw in more
opportunities for artists. We have also increased the size of the prize fund which will hopefully make it more attractive and exciting for applicants. The panel of judges bring such a wealth of expertise and backgrounds that this will ensure we make the right decision.”

Applying to the Fund

To apply to the Dover Prize, applicants should complete the online application form available from which can be found here.

A shortlist of three artists will be chosen for interview and selected on the strength of their work and their potential to raise the profile of creative and visual arts in the Darlington.

Application Deadlines

The deadline for receipt of applications to the Dover Fund 2016 is Friday 30th September 2016. We recommend that you complete your application as soon as possible.

A distinguished panel have agreed to consider the applications later in the year and they include:

  • Elinor Morgan Senior Curator at MIMA
  • Stephen Wiper Creative Darlington
  • Jolyon Potter Darlington Green Theatre
  • Kathy Wiper Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College arts department
  • Rita Smith NADFAS representative, artist and former head of art at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College
  • Neil Hillier Darlington resident/artist/Glint Adorn
  • Lynda Docherty Darlington Arts Society
  • Colin Robson Durham County Council Arts Service
  • Greville Worthington former board member of the BALTIC and the Henry Moore Foundation
  • Jane Tarr Director, Organisational Resilience, Environmental Sustainability and Newcastle, Arts Council England
  • Lesley Taylor Regional Chair of The Art Fund and former Trustee of the Bowes Museum
  • Barbara Gubbins CEO County Durham Community Foundation