A BRIDGEWATER High School student has won the first People’s Choice award at this year’s Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.

Artists put forward their best works to a panel of experts in the hope of bagging a £1,000 prize and their own solo exhibition next year.

Joe Malley was handed the People’s Choice award at a ceremony at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery for his futuristic piece, London 2067.

The 16-year-old said: “I’m a bit surprised really, and very happy. The standard of art on display is really so good, so I would never have expected it. My mum and sister both entered the competition, so I decided to enter as well. I was working on this for school but decided I would enter it into this year’s competition instead.”

Knutsford Guardian:

Joe Malley's London 2067

Joe is hoping to progress his artistic studies as he continues with his education.

He said: “I’m looking at colleges at the moment and mainly looking at ones that have really good art departments.”

The People’s Choice award was introduced in 2019 and consisted of votes collected from visitors to the exhibition over the past two weeks.

This joins the annual Judges’ Choice award, which is selected by a panel of independent experts and representatives from Culture Warrington.

Picking up this year’s prize was John McLeod, who submitted two pieces Penmaen Returns 1 and Penmaen Returns 2 into this year’s competition.

John added: “I’m really honoured as a Warrington artist to be among pieces of such high quality. Each year always seems to raise the bar that little bit higher so just to be fitting in is really special.

“I’ve been coming to have a look for about five years or so now and this is the third time I’ve entered. I just think it’s a great opportunity as it’s completely open – anyone can enter.”

Roger Jefferies, producer for Culture Warrington, was impressed with this year’s entries.

He said: “The 2019 competition has welcomed some really high-quality entries and – as ever – we were really impressed by the overall standard.

“Both John and Joe are very worthy winners who have submitted really fantastic pieces.

“We’re also always delighted to welcome entries from younger artists, such as Joe, and hope to see even more in the future.”

The event also saw the official launch of Let’s Get Stuck in Traffic, the debut solo exhibition of last year’s Contemporary Arts Festival open competition winner Marie Jones.

Visitors can view the festival’s open exhibition and Marie Jones’s Let’s Get Stuck in Traffic until November 10.