Chamber Announces Winner of the 2017 GM Arts Prize

Date: 02/11/2017
Author: GMCC
Company: GMCC

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2017 GM Arts Prize is Oldham-based artist, Helen Davies.

The Chamber launched the second of its annual Arts Prize in January. We received 220 entries in total from 94 professional and semi-professional artists from across Greater Manchester in various mediums including scanography, paintings, photography, wax, drawings, mixed media, digital, graphite pencil and clay.

Helen’s entry, entitled ‘Delicate Details’ (pictured), is a graphite pencil and pastel piece, exploring the details within skin, with delicate gold leaf over lapping the body to bring into question the incredible value of our bodies.

Andrew Brooks, Manchester-based Photographer, digital artist and filmmaker and the winner of the 2016 Greater Manchester Arts Prize, who was on the judging panel, said: “It's been a real privilege to be on the judging panel for the 2017 GM Arts Prize. As the winning artist from 2016 it's been good to stay connected with the prize to see how it's evolving and the quality of work from the artists of Manchester.

“Alongside the four other judges we selected 29 original paintings, photographic works, prints, sculpture, scanography and digital. This was a tough process as so much wonderful work has been submitted from 94 artists, which was an increase from the previous year. The quality of submissions was very high and we wanted to commend all of the artists who entered this year.

“All five judges choose Delicate Details by Helen Davies as the winning piece. We were drawn to the quality of the drawing, with detail and light rendered in perfectly. Alongside the unusual positioning of the figure and the bold gold leaf that overlays.”

Also on the judging panel were: Paulette Terry Brien, Co-director of The International 3 and Co-curatorial co-ordinator of The Manchester Contemporary.  Helen Wewiora, Director of Castlefield Gallery.  Rachel Goodyear, Artist, represented by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London. Resident and practising in Greater Manchester and Louise Durose, General & Legal Counsel at MAN Diesel & Turbo UK Ltd.

Helen said of her win: " I’m incredibly happy to have my piece chosen as the winner of the GM Arts Prize. To be among such wonderful work and artists is so inspiring and it makes me very proud, there’s a fantastic artist community in Greater Manchester and this really highlights that. It’s also great to see new names coming into the community and this prize will be a fantastic platform to help them share their work. 

“Winning the GM Arts Prize while I’m still very early in my career is a big confidence boost and it’s wonderful to have such support for the work I love to create. My piece aims to translate the beauty of skin onto paper using delicate materials with graphite and gold leaf to bring a connection that can relate in a truly honest way, and my next step is to further explore a full series of work inspired by people.”

The GM Arts Prize has received support from across the business community, including Join the Dots, Chaophraya Manchester, Fred Aldous, Veeno Manchester, G.F Smith Papers, The International 3 and Castlefield Gallery. 

Commenting on the competition, Joy Sewart, Arts Prize lead and Director of Operations at Greater Manchester Chamber, said: “We launched the GM Arts Prize to provide a platform for emerging contemporary artists in Greater Manchester to showcase their work to the business community.

“We feel passionately at the Chamber that we should not work in isolation, but work alongside artists from a variety of genres that can not only enrich our businesses, but also provide opportunities for artists to be recognised on a national and international scale, retaining artistic talent in our area.”

The winner and the three runners-up, Iain Andrews from Manchester, Mark Adams from Bolton and Salford-based Susan Gunn, will receive their awards at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner, which takes place on 18th May at the Victoria Warehouse.

The 2017 awards have been handcrafted by Ella McIntosh, This is Pewter, from her studio at Manchester Craft and Design Centre.

Manchester-based artist, Ella McIntosh, has specially designed and produced the awards, which will be presented by Craig Charles, who will be hosting the event.

As well as receiving the award, the winner and runners-up will also receive vouchers from art suppliers, Fred Aldous, artist paper from G.F. Smith and exhibition space at the Chamber’s Exhibition supported by Join the Dots, which is currently open in the Chambers Head Office, Elliot House, 151 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3WD. The exhibition includes the winning pieces as well as all the shortlisted entries.

To find out more about the GM Arts Prize visit and to register your interest in the Exhibition, email

The 2018 GM Arts Prize is due to launch on Monday 29th January 2018.