New and old faces create best Open Art Competition in years

Now in its 16th year, and its seventh at The World of Glass Museum, Arts and Visitor Centre, The St Helens Open Art Competition is bigger and better than ever and the quality of work improves every year..

Well over 200 pieces were submitted for this prestigious annual event which once again saw the prize winners sharing £1,900 worth of prizes.

The World of Glass has worked with The Rainford Trust, St Helens Council and in partnership with The Heart of Glass as part of the towns 150th celebrations.

Mayor of St Helens, councillor Pat Ireland awarded the prizes on the evening and commented how apt that it was that in this 150th anniversary year, that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority had announced that St Helens will be its first Borough of Culture, as part of its new 1% for Culture programme and was testament to the rich creative talents there is throughout the borough.

‘The top three this year are from completely different mediums’ said Ron Helsby, Exec. Director ‘which is really exciting and means that artistic horizons are very much being broadened.’

First prize went to Sculptural artist, Liam Gilchrist for his spectacular piece Owl Landing, made from metal welded and riveted together. The unique piece was a talking point at the preview and prize giving on Tuesday evening and creates quite an impact as you look around the exhibition. Second place went to Mali Davies for his photographic piece, I’m not alone and third prize went to Sue Stevens for her piece in acrylics’ called Beneath the Surface.

The work is hung by in house duo Curator, Hannah Billinge and Technician, Mark Peel. Hannah explained “each year it’s a bit of a guessing game as to how many pieces and of what size will come in, potentially every piece could be to the maximum size of 1metre squared. Thankfully there is quite a range and it helps when Mark and I get to the point of hanging.“

Paul Cousins local artist and MC for the evening commented with “It is important to note that is an exhibition by the people, for the people and the in the largest of galleries that we have in St Helens, all based at The World of Glass. It is truly a community exhibition, reflecting the wide range of talent within the borough.”

This year saw a special award given in recognition of the 150th Anniversary of the town with and Ex Terra Lucem award which was given to Mike Chesworth for his piece St Helens in an Instant. The exhibition runs until Friday 7th September.

List of winners

1st PRIZE Owl Landing – Liam Gilchrist

2nd PRIZE I’m Not Alone – Mali Davies

3rd PRIZE Beneath The Surface – S.K Stevens

Category Winners

LANDSCAPE PRIZE Carr Mill Path – Keith Bentham

PORTRAIT PRIZE Portrait of Karl – Elizabeth Culley

DRAWING PRIZE Stop Talking, You’re Making Me Itchy – Ratmilk

3D PRIZE Contrasting Characteristics 2 – Alicia Corbett


ABSTRACT PRIZE Study in Sage – Jacqui Priestley

EX TERRA LUCEM AWARD St Helens In An Instant – Mike Chesworth


1. The Get-Together – Anthony Duffy

2. Joan of Arc – Kenneth Shaw

3. Deep Seated – Paula Webster

4. Amazing Grace – Paul McCracken

5. 7 Years – John Charles

6. Ici Repose, Vincent Van Gogh – Catherine Sinclair

7. Blossom – Sheila McAdam

8. Abstract – Daniel Parle


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