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Prize winning art in the frame in Leek

Picture perfect artists were celebrating their success at the prize giving ceremony which concluded this year's Staffordshire Moorlands Open Art Exhibition.

The annual event, organised as part of the Leek Arts Festival, showcases the often otherwise unseen talents of local artists. This year over 70 artists entered their work and there were almost 180 exhibits on display at Leek's Nicholson Museum and Art Gallery ranging from oils and watercolours to mixed media, sculpture and photography.

The exhibition culminated with a prize giving ceremony to honour their achievements. The winners were:

Wiesje Edmondson for her 'Portrait of an Indonesian Girl', described as sensitive and beautifully evocative by the judges, which took first place in the 2D category

Barry Dixon's 'Head Study' was awarded first prize in the 3D category with judges calling it an excellent piece of modelling producing an engaging, powerful and evocative piece of work

James Pedlar was named the first prize winner in the photography category for his image of 'Twr Mawr Lighthouse' which judges thought had a mellow and compelling colour palette with a soft, warm light

Jean Byatt's oil on canvass 'Sail on By' was named Best in Show which judges described as dramatic to the viewer and skilfully rendered

Nicola Richardson took the big Public Vote prize for 'Lauren and Cybil' a striking portrait which clearly captured the public imagination and attention

Councillor Mike Bowen, Cabinet Member for tourism and visitor attractions at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said: "The standard of the entries is always high but this year it has surpassed expectations as I'm sure anyone who has visited the exhibition would agree.

"I'd like to sincerely congratulate all those who submitted and exhibited their work which, I think, just goes to further strengthen and reinforce the long-standing arts and crafts heritage of the Moorlands.

"We are fortunate indeed to have such a stunning venue as the Nicholson Museum and Art Gallery in which to display these artworks but even more blessed to be able to share the evident talents of local artisans - so much so that I can't wait for next year!"