Art Prizes

Despite the difficulties that we all faced in 2020, we were delighted by the record number of entries last year, from as far afield as Moscow, Rome, Chile and the United States as well as throughout the UK. Also by the fact that despite everything we were able to hold a live outdoor exhibition, albeit a couple of months later than usual and sadly curtailed by a massive storm (though happily without any damage to any of the artworks). Even though the exhibition was cut short, thanks to strong support, we achieved record sales.

Although 2021 has not quite begun in the positive way we all hoped it might, the Holt Festival Art Prizes will take place as usual and we are very pleased to announce the introduction of an additional prize for 16-18 year olds, again sponsored by Sworders. In keeping with the growing impact of our Art Prizes we are also pleased to announce that we have increased the cash prize for the Sir John Hurt Art Prize which formerly stood at £1,750.

The prizes on offer this year are as follows.

The Sir John Hurt Art Prize

The winner receives a cheque for £2,000 and the winning entry is exhibited at The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in the autum

The Sworders Art Prizes

19-23 year old category

The winner receives a cheque for £750 and the winning artist is offered a commission free exhibition at The Gallery, Holt.

16-18 year old category

The winner receives a cheque for £500.

Closing Date for Entries and Shortlist Notifications

All entries are to be submitted online, from which a shortlist for each prize will be selected. All entries for the Sworders Art Prizes are automatically entered into the Sir John Hurt Art Prize. The selected works are then included in the Shortlist Exhibition from which the judges choose the winners.

The closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday 20th June.

The shortlist for all the prizes will be announced by midnight on Sunday 27th June.

Details for the delivery of shortlisted works to the exhibition will be sent at this stage.

Holt Festival will charge 28.2% (23.5%+VAT) commission for works sold in the Shortlist Exhibition.

Artwork – Details
All artworks must be wall hanging and measure no more than 1.25 metres, including the frame (if any), in height or width and must be no greater than 40cms deep. Artists may use any medium they wish and depict any subject matter. Works selected for the Shortlist Exhibition do not have to be framed if the artist believes their work is better displayed unframed. However it is usually advantageous to sympathetically frame work, especially when offering them for sale.

The Shortlist Exhibition  Saturday 24th Saturday 31st July
Adrian Hill Fine Art has very kindly offered to host the exhibition in their gallery in Lees Yard in Holt town centre. It will open to the public on Saturday 24th July and run until Saturday 31st July (10am - 4pm). It is possible that we will need to operate a timed entry system. If this is the case bookings can be arranged through this website nearer the time.

The Announcement of the Winners – Sunday 25th July
Although in pre-Covid times many hundreds of people attended the announcement drinks and viewing evening, we will obviously not be able to finalise details or issue invitations until we have a reasonable understanding of any restrictions that may be in force.

Entry Form & Fees  Artists may enter up to three works




Sir John Hurt Art Prize




Sworders Art Prize 19-23 category




Sworders Art Prize 16-18 category




To enter the Art Prizes download and complete an application form from the link below. Select the number of images you would like to enter and complete the entry fee payment using the PayPal link below. Once you have completed your payment process please email your completed application form, a copy of the PayPal receipt and images (jpg 2mb max) to

Please click here to download the entry form

Sir John Hurt Art Prize
Sworders Art Prize 19-23
Sworders Art Prize 16-18


The Sir John Hurt Art Prizes

Stuart Pearson Wright – Artist & Curator

Named with Hockney, Doig, Ofili and others in December 2020 by Contemporary Art Issue as among the most important living figurative painters in the UK, Stuart trained at The Slade and then the Royal Drawing School, London, where he is now a visiting lecturer. He won the BP Portrait Award in 2000 and has been shortlisted for the Garrick/Milne, Jerwood, Hunting, Windsor & Newton and Singer & Friedlanger/Sunday Times prizes among others. Brian Sewell described his portraits as “images of such eccentricity and even madness that they fit perfectly the English tradition of the odd man out…”. His work is in numerous public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, British Museum, National Gallery of Ireland and the Fitzwilliam & Ashmolean Museums. In recent years Stuart’s work has expanded beyond painting to include film, sculpture and music.

David Case - Curator & Publisher

David was at the centre of print publishing in the UK for several decades. In 1972 he was one of the founding directors of Christie’s Contemporary Art (now CCA Galleries). In the early 90s he moved to Marlborough Fine Art as a director and as head of their graphics department, where he published etchings and lithographs by luminaries such as Paula Rego, Frank Auerbach and Victor Pasmore. After stepping down he has worked as a private dealer and curator.

Amanda Geitner - Curator

Amanda Geitner studied Art History and Literature at the University of Western Australia, Perth and began her career there, at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery. In 1995 she moved to the UK to take up the role of Assistant Curator at the Mead Gallery, University of Warwick, soon moving to become Chief Curator at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia. Eighteen years later in 2015 she was appointed Director of The East Anglia Art Fund which is dedicated to enriching cultural life in our region by supporting the best in exhibitions and art education.

Sworders Art Prizes

Nichola Johnson - Art & Architectural Historian

Nichola trained as an archaeologist and then an art/architectural historian. Until 2010, she was Director of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. She has been a trustee of the National Trust and of Dulwich Picture Gallery and chaired the boards of Clore Leadership, the Ruskin Foundation and the University Museums Group. She is currently chair of the East Anglia Art Fund and on the boards of various other heritage and cultural organisations.

Adrian Hill - Gallerist

Adrian’s grandparents opened the first art gallery and artists' supplies shop in Holt in the early ‘70s, which was subsequently run by his parents. Adrian has recently reshaped and relaunched The Gallery having in 2013 opened his own gallery Adrian Hill Fine Art next door. In the autumn of 2020 he opened a further gallery in the market town of Stamford.  The galleries show contemporary work by a range of British artists as well as showcasing a selection of original works by among others Hockney, Lowry and East Anglian favourite Edward Seago. Adrian Hill at The Gallery generously gives the winner of the Sworders Art Prize for 19-23 year-olds a commission free exhibition, as well as hosting the The Holt Festival Art Prizes' Shortlist Exhibition 2021 at Adrian Hill Fine Art next door.

Terms & Conditions of Entry

Please read these carefully and keep a copy for your records.

  1. Entrants acknowledge they have read and their accept these terms by submitting an entry form.
  2. All work submitted must be available for inclusion in the Holt Festival Art Prizes Shortlist Exhibition, Saturday 24th July – Saturday 31st July 2021.
  3. All artworks must be wall hanging and measure no more than 1.25 metres, including the frame (if any), in height or width and must be no greater than 40cms deep. Submitted images should be sent as jpgs no larger than 3mb. The shortlist selection will be made viewing the images on large screens.
  4. When the shortlist is announced the successful artists will receive instructions about delivery to Holt between 14th & 19th July. Artists are responsible for wrapping and arranging transport.
  5. Collection of unsold shortlisted works after the exhibition will be from Adrian Hill Fine Art, Holt.
  6. Artists may opt to sell their work. The festival will charge 28.2% (23.5%+VAT) commission on all sales.
  7. The judge's decisions are final and binding; no correspondence can be entered into.
  8. Once an entry form has been submitted, no refunds of entry fees, part or whole, will be given.


Holt Festival adhere to standard copyright practice.

Data Protection

Holt Festival will retain entrants' personal data for use solely in conjunction with Holt Festival and this information will not be made available to other organisations. Your email address will be added to our mailing database and you will be given the option to unsubscribe at any time.