Tom takes top prize in our annual schools art contest

Date 1.12.2017

Talented Tom Stent saw off competition from almost 400 other young artists to scoop the top prize in the University of Northampton’s Schools Art and Design Competition 2017.

The Caroline Chisholm School sixth-former’s surrealist portrait was judged to be the competition’s most outstanding work, and saw Tom win £500 for his school’s art department at a glittering awards ceremony at Avenue Campus, on Thursday evening.

Sixteen-year-old Tom, who also won £500 for himself after winning the Ocee Prize for Drawing, said: “I was so surprised to have won the most outstanding prize, especially after seeing the incredible work on display from the other entrants.

“I had no idea I was in the running for an award until we were on the way in the car, and somebody phoned my mum to make sure we would be at the ceremony. So then I thought I may have done well in one category, but to hear my name announced as winner of the top award was amazing and a little surreal.”

Tom’s mum, Hayley, said: “We are really proud of Tom, and I’m just amazed at how well he has done. He started to show a real talent for art when he was in Year 9, but even at primary school he seemed to be ahead of the game, when others were drawing stick men he would create something more elaborate.”

His dad, Bill, added: “I used to do a bit of sketching when I was younger and one day I showed Tom my work. He went away and a day later came back with his own drawing which was infinitely better than anything I had ever created, which is when we realised what a talent he has for art. But the main thing is, he enjoys it.”

Tom Stent

Untitled, by Tom Stent

Tom’s winning entry, an untitled surrealist portrait of a man, was influenced by a variety of pictures and artworks.

He said: “I’m not sure what meaning it has, I don’t want to give it a meaning, really. I just wanted to create something that is interesting to look at.”

Now in its fourth year, the competition is aimed at sixth-form students from across the East Midlands, and aims to find the region’s brightest young artistic talent.

Entries are invited in six categories, with a total prize fund of over £4,000 – and a further prize of £500 to the most outstanding submission which will be awarded to the winner’s school.

This year attracted 379 entries from 22 schools in Northamptonshire and surrounding counties.

The exhibition of entries runs until Thursday 14 December in the Avenue Gallery, Maidwell building. It is open on weekdays, between 10am and 4pm, and is open to the public.

Click on the gallery below for a selection of pictures from the awards evening.

A full list of winners is below.

The Ocee Prize for Drawing (sponsored by Ocee Design)

1st Prize of £500:              Tom Stent, Untitled, Caroline Chisholm School

2nd Prize of £250              Natalie Rogers, Obscured, Kettering Buccleuch Academy

3rd Prize of £100               Charlotte Dykes, Spine, Northampton High School


Digital and New Media

1st Prize of £500 vouchers:          Amelia Furniss, Fin,Wellingborough School

2nd Prize of £250 vouchers:        Deimante Aleksandraviciute, True Reflections, Abbeyfield School

3rd Prize of £100 vouchers:          Courtney Brodie, Reece, Kettering Buccleuch Academy


Graphics and Illustration

1st Prize of £500 vouchers:          Anna Ellerbeck, Playground Games,  Kimbolton School

2nd Prize of £250 vouchers:         Zach Cunningham, Light Rooms, Wellingborough School

3rd Prize of £100 vouchers:          Jarrad Spencer, Liberation of Spirit, Wellingborough School


3D Design

1st Prize of £500 vouchers:          Harriet Knights, Waste of Space, Bedford Girls’ School

2nd Prize of £250 vouchers:         Alice Shoreland, Las Ramblas Dragon Collage, Wellingborough School

3rd Prize of £100 vouchers:          Fletcher Shardlow, Concrete Jungle, Northampton School for Boys


Fashion and Textiles

1st Prize of £500 vouchers:          Maja Sharratt, Fierce Japanese Kimono, Wootton Upper School

2nd Prize of £250 vouchers:         Sophie Vincent, The Hues of Destruction, Northampton School for Girls

3rd Prize of £100 vouchers:          Zahra Al-Najjar, Shapes, Northampton High School


The Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Fine Art (sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor, University of Northampton)

1st Prize of £500:              Rosie Kelly, Tree Roots, Northampton High School

2nd Prize of £250:            Vanessa Nakalanzi, Perfect Imperfections, Wootton Upper School

3rd Prize of £100               Annie Footitt, A Mother’s Life, Northampton School for Girls


Most Outstanding Work in the Exhibition

Selected from amongst the category winners, £500 to the winning School’s Art Department:

Presented to Stephen Walker from Caroline Chisholm School for Tom Stent’s drawing


The Northamptonshire Town & County Prize for Best in Show (sponsored by the Northamptonshire Town and County Arts Society)

Presented by Sue Brownridge, President of the Northampton Town & County Art Society

2 x £50 – jointly awarded to:

Olivia Marshall and Alex Bolton, both of Sawtry Village Academy


The Colemans Prize for the Students’ Choice (sponsored by Colemans Stationery and Art Supplies)

£100 Colemans vouchers awarded to Natasha Burgess from Wootton Upper School