The Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award was established by Foundation Derbyshire in 1998 with the help of a legacy from the estate of the late Jonathan Vickers, a lifelong lover of fine arts. Jonathan Vickers worked for several years as a designer with Colefax and Fowler, the furnishing and wallpaper design company.
The continuing theme of the Award is ‘Sense of Place’, inspired by the people, landscape and heritage of Derbyshire. A more specific theme of significance for the county may also be highlighted within the overall ‘Sense of Place’ e.g. ‘the Derwent Valley Mills’, ‘Treasure Houses’ etc.
This award is open to emerging painters and the successful artist receives a bursary of £18,000, plus a studio at Banks Mill, a contribution to the cost of materials, a nine month period of support and mentoring, including a access to the University of Derby’s College of Arts and final exhibitions at Derby Museums and Mall Galleries. In 2019, applicants for the award were by invitation only for past exhibitors of FBA Futures, the UK’s largest survey of emerging figurative art.
During the nine month residency, the artist is expected to produce a body of new work for the public exhibition at Derby Museums and at other spaces across Derbyshire. The artist contributes five days of teaching at the University of Derby’s College of Arts. Collaboration with the University of Derby’s College of Arts has enabled art students to gain valuable insight from the experience and practices of a working artist.
Education and community outreach is a key component and an integral part of the artist’s residency. This might involve the artist leading educational workshops in the community with school children and adults across the county or co-creating an exhibition. This element of the Award is supported by funding from Rolls-Royce plc. The resulting work produced by the artist and students is then shared at the end of the Award year.
The Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award is much more than just an art competition. It aims to enrich the cultural life of Derbyshire with the development of a growing collection of contemporary art of national importance. Created in the county, it is both accessible to, and informed by, local people.