Holt Festival Art Prize renamed in honour of Norfolk screen legend Sir John Hurt

PUBLISHED: 22:20 05 March 2017 | UPDATED: 22:20 05 March 2017

Sir John Hurt is pictured presenting the award before it was renamed in his honour to 2014 winner Francesca Perkins. Picture: Rodney Smith

Sir John Hurt is pictured presenting the award before it was renamed in his honour to 2014 winner Francesca Perkins. Picture: Rodney Smith

Rodney Smith

One of the east of England’s top art prizes has been renamed in honour of one of Norfolk’s most famous adopted sons.

2016 winner Lara Cobden (black dress) with judge Amanda Geitner. Picture: Rodney Smith 2016 winner Lara Cobden (black dress) with judge Amanda Geitner. Picture: Rodney Smith

The Holt Festival Art Prize will be known as ‘Holt Festival - Sir John Hurt Art Prize’ to celebrate the screen and stage acting legend, who, before his death in January had been a great enthusiast for the competition.

He served on the panel of judges and presented the award to the winning entry as often as acting commitments allowed.

Holt Festival - Sir John Hurt Art Prize is open to artists everywhere. In previous years there have been entries by artists from all over the UK. There is a cash prize of £1,500 for the winner and in addition the winning artwork will be exhibited at Norwich’s prestigious Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in the autumn.

All types of visual art are welcome but entries must be submitted before the deadline of midnight Sunday, June 18. Judges will select a shortlist of 25 to 30 that will be exhibited at the Auden Theatre, Holt from July 23 to 30.

The winner will be announced at a private viewing on the evening of July 23. The exhibition is part of the Holt Festival Art Trail that also takes in many other galleries and exhibition spaces around the town.

Last year’s competition once again attracted an extremely high standard of entries with Norfolk artist Lara Cobden winning with her painting The Enchanted Garden, unanimously selected from almost 200 entries.

Adney Payne, Chair of the Board of Trustees for Holt Festival said: “It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of Sir John. He was a great supporter of the Festival and we were also honoured to have him as a performer and judge of the Art Prize on several occasions.

“He loved living in North Norfolk and we loved having him here. Sir John was a kind, generous and charming man who was a great ambassador for, and supporter of, the arts in the county. We all miss him greatly and shall especially do so in Festival week, where he became such a familiar face.”

This year’s judges are well-known Modern and Contemporary British art specialist Robert Upstone who spent 23 years as a senior Tate curator, Amanda Geitner, Director of The East Anglia Art Fund and Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Acting Deputy Director and Head of Collections Calvin Winner.

Holt Festival Art Prize organiser and international art appraiser James Glennie said: “Holt Festival was keen to acknowledge the support and friendship Sir John offered the Festival. It seemed an obvious move to rename the Art Prize in his honour, he generously supported the Prize, either awarding or judging or both almost every year since its inception.

The 2017 Holt Festival runs from July 22 to 30. Entry forms can be downloaded from


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