Hotly tipped as one of the most exciting shows of contemporary art in the region, the New Light Prize exhibition opens at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle this October.

The biennial open art prize - comprising a competition and accompanying exhibition - was devised and organised by the charity New Light, from which it takes its name. Its aim is to bring art alive via encouraging, celebrating and promoting the work of talented contemporary artists born, currently living or having studied in the North of England.

Heading up a range of glittering awards is the prestigious Valeria Sykes Prize, worth £10,000 to the winner. The breadth of work submitted for the prizes makes for an exhilarating and stimulating exhibition, and all the shortlisted artworks will be available to view and purchase during the show. Judges include Norman Ackroyd, one of the UK’s most famous contemporary printmakers; Lord Crathorne, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Arts and Heritage Group; art reviewer, Laura Gascoigne; Matthew Hall, Director of the Panter & Hall Gallery in London’s Pall Mall; and the CEO of New Light, Annette Petchey, who said: “We are thrilled that this year’s Prize Exhibition is going to be held in such a prestigious northern setting. In previous years, we have focused on younger artists and emerging talent, but we have now removed the upper age limit and opened up the exhibition to all northern artists, whatever stage they are at in their career. We believe visitors to The Bowes Museum deserve to see the best contemporary art being produced in the North of England – and we’re looking forward to showing them just that.”

The shortlist will be announced in September, with the exhibition opening at The Bowes Museum on Saturday 17 October 2015 and running until Sunday 7 February 2016, after which it will tour to the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate and the Panter and Hall Fine Art Gallery.

Jane Whittaker, the Museum’s Head of Collections, said: “We are delighted to host New Light this year and welcome the opportunity to stage work by northern artists in the historic setting of The Bowes Museum. We look forward to working with Annette and her team to develop the exhibition and a lively educational programme to accompany it.”

To coincide with the opening of the show, New Light and The Bowes Museum will be running an innovative project with artist Vicky Holbrough and pupils from Ingleton Primary School. Using an artwork from the exhibition as a starting point, the children will produce a piece of work to be retained at their school.

As part of its Art for All arm, New Light will also be working with the Museum to organise workshops and talks for adults interested in acquiring or refining an art-based skill or learning more about purchasing art. For further information see