Record entries wow organisers of school art competition

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A prestigious children’s art exhibition in Ely has attracted a record number of entries this year, with organisers staggered by the quality of artwork.

Over 200 pieces were submitted to the East Cambs Schools Art competition, which held a private viewing tonight (January 5) for youngsters whose artwork had been selected to be displayed at The Babylon Gallery.

Gallery director Caroline Cawley was impressed not just by the number of entries submitted by schools – but also by the pieces themselves.

She told Spotted in Ely: “The quality of the artwork is amazing.”

She added: “I’ve never seen so many people in the gallery at once. It’s one of our favourite shows of the year.”

Nine schools from across East Cambridgeshire took part this year, with participants aged between four and 18.

Winners announced

The Foundation (early years, ages four to five) category was won by Lillie-Anne from Littleport Community Primary School, with schoolmate Skylar named runner-up. Peter from Sutton Church of England Primary School got third prize.

Eden from Sutton Church of England Primary School scooped first prize in the Key Stage 1 (ages five to seven) category, with Charlie F (Sutton) coming second and Charlie S (The Lantern Community Primary School) getting third prize.

Poppy S (Sutton) won the Key Stage 2 (ages seven to 11) category, with KS1 runner-up Charlie S’s big brother Aidan (Lantern) coming second and Alex F (Fordham Church of England Primary School) getting third prize.

The Key Stage 3 (ages 11 to 14) section was won by Alex B (Ely College), with Ruth T (Soham Village College) coming second and Eliza J (Ely College) winning third prize.

Soham Village College dominated the Key Stage 4 category (ages 14-16), with Gabija Zvaigzdyte declared the winner and Hannah Richard and Hannah Hansen getting second and third prizes respectively.

The final category was Key Stage 5 (16 to 18 year olds), in which Kings Ely made a clean sweep, with Kate Feng getting first prize, Maisie Barlow scooping second, and Lexy Chen coming in third place.

Eden in paradise after scooping first prize

The Key Stage 1 category alone attracted over 100 entries from youngsters aged between five and seven.

Eden Kottman, six, told Spotted in Ely she was “surprised” to win the category with her charcoal depiction of the London skyline, featuring St Paul’s Cathedral.

Although the Sutton Church of England Primary School pupil has visited the capital, she’s not been to that part of London and used a photograph as her guide.

She said she loved art and was delighted to receive an art set from her grandparents for Christmas.

The Lantern Community Primary School had submitted entries to the competition after holding a special art day for the entire school last term. Brothers Charlie and Aiden Sigrist both won prizes for their age group, with older sister Eve, from Soham Village College, also having her artwork displayed.

Everyone a winner

The event, which is celebrating its ninth year, is co-hosted by The Babylon Gallery and the Ely-Hereward Rotary Club. Ely-Hereward Rotary president Jeff Hide said the quality of the exhibits had improved with each year, and thanked local businesses for supporting the event, especially Tindalls, which had donated prizes.

“We are so pleased to offer our young talented artists studying in the district the opportunity to see their work displayed in this professional gallery setting.”

Artist Ted Coney, who helped to organise the competition, said everyone who had taken part in the competition was a winner.

“Every child gets a certificate at the end. The prizes are vouchers for art materials because we want to encourage children to do more art.”

The exhibition is open to the public until Sunday January 14 at Babylon Gallery on Ely’s Riverside.

Entry is free and the gallery is open every day but Monday from 12 noon till 4pm.

If you would like your school to take part next year contact caroline.cawley@babylonarts.org.uk