Curious Duke Gallery team up with Be Smart About Art and launch the Secret Art Prize

London’s hippest little urban art gallery, the Curious Duke has a secret and it’s a secret that won’t last for long as they launch their search for a new gallery star.

Located on Whitecross Street near to the City of London, the gallery has built a reputation for developing the careers of many up and coming urban artists and the new art prize hopes to find a brand new talent.

The Curious Duke has a Secret

The Curious Duke has a Secret

Artists will be invited to submit a piece of original work via an online application form to the Curious Duke Gallery by 15th June 2014 with the winning entry announced four days later having been judged by a panel of experts including the BBC’s Mary Ann Hobbs, Be Smart About Art founder Susan Mumford, blogger Tabish Khan, ‘I know what I like’ founder Sabina Andron, the Barbicans Daniela Fetta and artist Teddy Baden.  In addition to a £500 cash prize the winner will gain exposure at the popular Whitecross Street Festival and mentoring from Susan Mumford.

Speaking about the idea behind the art prize, Curious Duke founder Eleni Duke explained that it’s genesis was initially inspired by the Richard Reed ‘Art Everywhere’ project which saw fine art placed in public spaces.  “I thought I could take this project further and mix fine art with the current street art trend that we are currently experiencing and put the physical piece of art onto the streets and really bridge the gap between fine art and street art.” she told me.

Searching for a start, Eleni Duke hopes the art prize will reveal the next big thing

Searching for a star, Eleni Duke hopes the art prize will reveal the next big thing

Ultimately attempting to blur the barriers between art in the street and the art in the gallery, this is perhaps what the Curious Duke has become known for, as Eleni explains,  “street art now is so accessible to everyone, it’s become part of our everyday life and surroundings yet walking into an art gallery is still seen as quite an intimidating visit”.

It’s an idea that has already been tried with some success albeit in a different context in Dulwich where the art in the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery seeks inspiration from the more traditional Dulwich Picture Gallery.  There works of street art are inspired by works from the masters of the Baroque but it’s overall aim is to raise interest in both mediums.

The Curious Duke Gallery in Whitecross Street will be launching the prize with 'Be Smart About Art'

The Curious Duke Gallery in Whitecross Street will be launching the prize with ‘Be Smart About Art’

For Eleni it’s an exciting project and one that she hopes will lead to the discovery of hidden talents and  ultimately “reveal their secret, their style and their talent to the world” .  Already she can boast to having helped support the careers of a number of artists who have showcased at the gallery including the likes of Sam Peacock and Hannah Adamaszek both of whom have boasted solo shows in 2013.

Working with Sam for the past 2 ½ years, having met on twitter and never previously having worked with a gallery she explains how he has become one of the Duke’s most popular artists with a totally original style and having explored different mediums, sizes and techniques yet  “still progressing in every aspect”.  Crawley based artist Hannah Adamaszek meanwhile has seen her reputation soar since launching her own solo show in 2013 “it has been a pleasure being a part of her progression in the art world” says Eleni.

Sam Peacock has one of the most original styles in the creation of his work.  He hosted his first solo show at the gallery in 2013

Sam Peacock has one of the most original styles in the creation of his work. He hosted his first solo show at the gallery in 2013

The Secret is yet to be revealed but June it will be and perhaps, just perhaps, a new star of the art world will be born.

The Secret art prize launches on 17th March 2013 with entries closing on 15th June 2013.  The overall winner will be chosen by 19th June 2013 and given a prize of £500, a panel exhibitied at the Whitecross Street Party, Be Smart About Art Mentoring and membership, art supplies, representation by the Curious Duke and a one month long group exhbition at the Gallery.  Category winners will all get representation and exposure in the group show. All pictures shown in this article are courtesy of Eleni Duke