The winner of a prestigious North East contemporary art competition, which attracted applications from across the country, has now been revealed.

Newcastle-based artist, Bethan Maddocks, has been awarded County Durham Community Foundation’s Dover Prize 2019 – a bursary of £10,000 to support Bethan’s creative practice. The bursary will provide the artist with time to think, research, reflect and experiment with new ideas that will create work to be premiered in Darlington in 2021.

Bethan, was selected from a very strong field of more than 100 applicants from across the UK, and was shortlisted along with artists Paul Rooney from Liverpool, Claire Baker from Stockton , Laura Malacart from London, and Matthew Pickering and Manpreet Kambo from Newcastle.

Bethan said: I’m so happy to have won this generous, open-ended bursary- it’s a life changing opportunity and I’m excited to spend the next two years developing work that will be premiered in Darlington in 2021. I grew up in County Durham and it feels great to invest in my practice in a part of the world where I began my journey as an artist. I’m looking forward to exploring the history of the area through its archives, architecture, historical characters and through workshops with Darlington residents over the next two years.”

The Dover Prize Exhibition was initially established in 1998 when philanthropist Peggy Nonhebel (née Dover) set up an endowment fund with County Durham Community Foundation to promote art and the education of art in and around Darlington.

This year’s winner has exhibited across the UK working primarily as a sculptor and in paper cutting, and her work explores social history, the stories of people and place, and environmental and social change. She has been commissioned previously by the National Trust, and has previously collaborated on Borneo Bengkel; an arts platform for creative practitioners that encourages interdisciplinary dialogue and cultural exchange, as well as with Unfolding Theatre to create a winter trail for visitors to Woodhorn Museum.

A distinguished panel had the difficult task of selecting a winner from what was considered to be an extremely high standard of applications. The Dover panel member Greville Worthington – Chairman of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, former Turner Prize panel member, and former board member of the BALTIC and the Henry Moore Foundation – commented:

“The Dover prize is great for the town of Darlington, and great for developing the careers of artists, congratulations to Bethan. I am really looking forward to what she does”

Stephen Wiper, Creative Darlington manager at Darlington Borough Council added: “It’s fantastic to see so many original proposals coming forward from artists in response to the Dover Art Prize and I look forward to seeing how Bethan explores and shares her practice in Darlington as a result of winning, it’s exciting when artists respond creatively to a place and have an opportunity to try new things and I’m sure we’ll see something we haven’t seen before. ”

Bethan will be doing a public talk about her artwork on Saturday 18 May 2019 at 1.30pm at Darlington Library, all are welcome to come along and share thoughts and stories of Darlington and learn more about her future Dover Prize supported work.

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