Plymouth Young Contemporary Open winners revealed in new exhibition

The winners of the inaugural Plymouth Young Contemporary Open art competition have been revealed at a dual-site exhibition at the Radiant Gallery and Peninsula Arts Gallery in the city.

Following the success of the international and biannual Plymouth Contemporary Open in 2015, the Plymouth Young Contemporary Open (PYCO) will also run every two years to provide an open platform for creativity in the city. 

The exhibition features selected artwork from an open call to artists and creative producers aged 4 to 30, responding to the theme GROW. The entrants were split into age groups, with a series of prizes being awarded.

Dr Sarah Chapman, Director of Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, said:

“This competition has captured the imagination of young people in the Plymouth area, and I hope the current exhibition will be the first of many such events to take place in the city. It has helped to unearth an incredibly high level of creativity, and it is a great honour to showcase such talent within the Peninsula Arts Gallery. I hope seeing their work on display will inspire these young artists to continue pursuing art as a passion, career or both in the future.”

Ray White, Senior Curator at Radiant, added:

“The first Plymouth Young Contemporary Open is a huge success. The quality and range of work, from all age categories, is truly inspiring. Creativity – and a critical engagement with making and presenting work – is alive and well in Plymouth. Effervescent is proud to have developed this initiative, and we look forward to a bright future for this biannual event. We couldn’t have done it without our partners and associate organisations, and look forward to continued city-wide collaboration.”

The winners in each age category are being commissioned by Peninsula Arts, Plymouth Culture and Effervescent to make work which will be shown alongside the Plymouth Contemporary Open competition in 2017.

The judges for the PYCO were Ray White (Senior Curator, Effervescent and Radiant Gallery), Blair Todd (Deputy Director/Exhibitions Curator, Newlyn Art Gallery), Dr Sarah Chapman (Director, Peninsula Arts), David Butler (Coordinator LifeWorkArt, Fine Art Admissions Tutor, Newcastle University), and Donna Howard (Director, KARST).

Plymouth Young Contemporary Open is a partnership between Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University, Plymouth Culture and Effervescent with associated partners: KARST, Ocean Studios, Plymouth Arts Centre and The History Centre.

PYCO is part of Effervescent’s “ReffUGE” programme which gives children and young people cultural platforms in the city, and is currently the only arts organisation in the South West to reach the finals of the National Lottery Awards.

Displayed at Radiant Gallery


Age 4-7

  • Winner: Katherine Wilson - The Looming Rainbow. Prize: Effervescent associate artist day and £200 materials budget – to the value of £950.
  • Runner-up: Isabella Colthurst - Growing is part of us. Prize: Plymouth College of Art Outside the Lines art workshop.
  • Commended: Abigail Bell

Age 16-18

  • Winner: Nicole Jones - Young Girl with Flowers. Prize: £750 commission to make work to be shown in association with the Plymouth Contemporary Open 2017.
  • Runner-up: Emil Wood - Green Concrete. Prize: Plymouth College of Art short course.
  • Commended: Ben Churchill.

Age 24-30

  • Winner: Liam Symes - The Box. Prize: £2000 commission to make work to be shown in association with the Plymouth Contemporary Open 2017 and six months PAC Home membership.
  • Runner-up: Ashley Franceschi - Untitled. Prize: Four days in the Ocean Studios workshop plus two days to display resulting work in the project space.
  • Commended: Holly Knowles

Displayed at Peninsula Arts Gallery


Age 8-11

  • Winner: Antonia Parkyn - GrowClan Cats Animation. Prize: Effervescent associate artist day and £200 materials budget.
  • Runner-up: Alicia Rose Greivson-Moore - GROW. Prize: Plymouth College of Art Holiday art course.
  • Commended (for her imaginative interpretation of the theme Grow): Rosie Prior.
Age 12-15

  • Winner: George Davies - Metropolis. Prize: £300 commission to make work to be shown in association with the Plymouth Contemporary Open 2017.
  • Runner-up: Amelia Goodman - ‘Grow’.

Age 19-23

  • Winner: Matilda Robinson - ‘Movable & Usable’. Prize: £1500 commission to make work to be shown in association with the Plymouth Contemporary Open 2017.
  • Runner-up: Vesislava Zheleva - ‘Bretonside’, (KARST Artist Mentoring sessions).
  • Commended (for her observation and technical skill): Frances Spry.

A clock by Jessica Owen, representing the warping of time

The Peninsula Arts Gallery at Plymouth University is one of the exhibition venues

Prizes were awarded to young people aged from 4 to 30

Young people from across the Plymouth area were asked to submit pieces on the theme 'GROW'