GREATER Manchester Chamber of Commerce has launched a new annual arts prize, thanks to a public grant from the Arts Council England and sponsorship from the business community.

The past few years have seen a number of exciting developments in the region’s contemporary arts sector, with the Manchester Contemporary art fair now in its seventh year; the merger of two of Manchester’s best-loved arts organisations, Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company into HOME; and the regeneration of Granada Studios into ‘The Factory’, the city’s cutting-edge arts venue.

Art prizes do exist across the region, but there is a need in the Greater Manchester contemporary arts scene for a prize which celebrates creativity and excellence, in partnerships between business and the arts.

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to uncovering the talent of emerging contemporary artists, providing them with a platform to showcase their work to the business community.

Joy Sewart, operations manager for the chamber, who is leading the project said: “Our aim is to find and build the careers of emerging Greater Manchester-based artists and help retain artistic talent in our region. There is a wealth of talent across our region and our job at the Chamber is to provide a platform to showcase and celebrate the work of our contemporary visual artists.”

The prize will be open to practising semi-professional and professional artists working or living in one of the 10 local authorities across Greater Manchester.

The overall winner and three runners-up prizes will be announced at the chamber’s annual business dinner on May 19 at Victoria Warehouse.

Craig Charles has been confirmed as the host/DJ for the annual dinner.

The overall winner will receive a cash prize of £1,500 (with £150 of vouchers from art suppliers Fred Aldous and paper products from G.F Smith), with the three runners-up each receiving a cash prize of £750 (with £50 of vouchers from Fred Aldous and paper products from G.F Smith).

The judging panel is interested in receiving entries from contemporary visual artists who are living/practising in Greater Manchester, whose work portrays significant potential, interesting ideas and strong messaging.

The arts prize and commission opportunity to produce the prizes are now open for entries. Artists can submit work via the website at: