Rotary club launches competition to discover new generation of South Tyneside artists

Cartoonist Peter Leech exhibition at South Shields Museum
Cartoonist Peter Leech exhibition at South Shields Museum

The competition to find South Tyneside’s next big young artist is hotting up.

The competition will see 25 talented young people have their work of art put on public display at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery in Ocean Road, South Shields.

Students will be encouraged to develop a career in the arts.

Peter Leech

The exhibition of finalists will run between January 30 and April 23.

The competition, organised by the two Rotary Clubs in South Tyneside, was launched in September for those aged between 11-15 and 16-18, in full-time education.

If the contest proves successful, it could be rolled out across the region.

Peter Leech, from the rotary club, said: “This is not ‘just another competition’, as it is hoped that it will receive recognition as an outstanding way of developing an excellence in the artistic talents of youth in the community.

“Some support funding has been found to ensure that, each year, a professional artist will give some ‘master class’ type tuition to the top 25 selected finalists, on a subject of their choice. These students may hopefully then be encouraged to develop a career in the arts.”

The competitors have been found with support from South Tyneside Council’s education department with guidance on the selection process from Arts Connect - a charitable organisation which encourages art within the community.

This year, the subject selected by the secondary schools is “create your own gaming character”.

The exhibition will be officially opened by the Mayor of South Tyneside and Paralympic gold medallist Joseph Craig on February 2.

Mr Leech added: “The Rotary Organisation nationally has, for many years, run annual competitions covering local, district as well as national levels, in which the main object is to find, then encourage and reward young people who show promise in a particular talent.

“Hopefully this talent can then be nurtured and developed for the future, giving a chance for those youngsters to show their talent, be identified and then offered every chance of success in their future career.”