Jonny’s quest for creativity earns him an award

Jonny Riggs who has been nominated for a WOW247 Award.
Jonny Riggs who has been nominated for a WOW247 Award.

A campaigning South Tyneside man - who wants children to be enthused by art - is reaping the rewards of two years of work.

It’s been an action-packed time for Jonny Riggs who has set up his business JRPortraits, delivered talks to children, supported numerous charities and tirelessly worked to raise the profile of art in the area.

“It has been a privilege and it has not just been about my business,” said the Shields man.

It’s also been about helping under-privileged people to get the chance to develop their talent.

And all that campaigning could even make him an award-winner as Jonny is in the running for honours in the WOW247 competition.

He admitted: “I am genuinely shocked and honoured at the same time. It is a pleasure to be in with a chance of winning this. I certainly did not expect it.”

The nomination for Jonny read: “I believe his contribution to the local culture and arts is undisputed and that is why he should be nominated and win this award.”

It praised Jonny for making the arts more accessible and told how he set up his own academy to help people interested in becoming an artist.

But Jonny wants to go further and said: “I am working tirelessly to speak to as many schools as I can. If I can get into more schools, then great.”

We want to find the best in South Tyneside and Wearside’s arts, culture, hospitality and leisure scene.

Nominations can be sent in until the deadline of February 1. After that, judges will draw up a shortlist in each category.

This year, the competition is backed by UK Asbestos Specialists (UKasl), The Marsden Grotto Private Beach and Downey’s Fish and Chip Restaurant in Roker and Seaham.

The Best Western Roker Hotel will host the finale of our competition – held in association with our weekly entertainments guide, Wow 24/7 - on Thursday, February 25.

To nominate, fill in the form in today’s paper or visit