This Art Award forms part of our global corporate responsibility programme, Clyde & Community, which supports local communities, charities and organisations with practical help from our staff and financial donations.

The Annual Cycle

For emerging artists, the transition from art school to the commercial world can be a daunting process. The Clyde & Co Art Award, now in its sixth year, continues to nurture and encourage emerging talent in the visual arts by supporting art graduates in their professional development and paying them fairly to show their work – both vital elements to enable them to sustain their practice.

The second aspect of the Clyde & Co Art Award is a national commission competition known as “The Blank Canvas”.  A highly visible 18m wall, with enormous creative potential, is made available for a site-specific commission each year. The commission is open to all final year Fine Arts undergraduate students across the UK.

“We are delighted to continue to provide professional support for the emerging artist, to establish a firm foundation from which they may build a sustainable practice, while we enjoy vibrant, changing, contemporary art which engages our staff and clients.” Louise Zekaria, Global Community Investment Manager, Clyde & Co


Professional Development
A key feature of the Clyde & Co Art Award is the career and business advice offered to every participant. Emerging artists, unlike other professions, receive very little support after graduation and may have had only a couple of tutorials on the business aspects of being an artist while at art school.
Our programme now includes: art law workshops on copyright, contracts and studio leases; artist-led masterclasses on articulating their practice, exhibitions, residencies, pricing and curation; gallery tours of East London to gain an insight into how commercial galleries operate and regular networking and collaborative opportunities.  One to one career mentoring sessions are also provided by Ian Chance, Director of the MA in Creative Entrepreneurship at the University of East Anglia.

Pro Bono Legal Support
Another key element of the Art Award is the free legal advice provided by Clyde & Co lawyers.  It may take the form of reviewing the terms of gallery contracts, art agency agreements, intellectual property such as copyright and use of images, property legal advice regarding studio tenancies and visa applications for international artists.  Last year, our lawyers provided 100 hours of pro bono legal advice, worth around £300,000.

All the selected students receive a cash prize and pro bono legal support, business mentoring and the opportunity to sell their work by means of an online auction for the year that their work is on display.

Cash prizes are awarded each year; a £5,000 prize to the student selected by an external panel of three judges, and a £2,000 Clyde & Co staff prize to a second student.

Emerging to Established

Marguerite Carnec – 2 years on

Marguerite graduated from Camberwell College of Arts in 2016. Since participating in the Clyde & Co Art Award she took part in a residency programme at Topolski Studio and worked for Richard Notbourne Scenic Studio. Her monoprint series entitled ‘ Lieu de Vie’ was selected as the World Illustration Awards 2017 Editorial New Talent Category Winner. She was one of only 15 artists to win a prize from this year’s award and was selected out of 48 shortlisted artists.


‘Clyde & Co’s programme is a huge opportunity, if I had another year I would use it even better. We live in such a fast-paced life, you tend to forget hoe much a programme such as this can give you. The seminars I attended, delivered by Ian Chance, were really helpful. It was an exciting experience to open up to an audience that is so different to those in the art world, about my work.’

 ‘Untitled to Intermediate II’ 2016/17 Collection

Dene Leigh – 6 years on

Dene Leigh graduated in 2012 from Wimbledon College of Art ( University of the Arts London). His work has been written about in international contemporary art publications such as ‘Hi-Fructose’ and ‘Daily Serving’. Leigh’s work has been presented in numerous group exhibitions in London including the ‘Young Masters Art Prize 2014’ at the Sphinx Fine Art and more recently, the ‘RA Summer Exhibition 2017’ held at the Royal Academy of Arts. Leigh is represented by Baert Gallery in Los Angeles, California. In 2016, Baert Gallery presented AGNOSIA, an exhibition of new and recent work by Leigh. The exhibition was the artist’s first solo show with the gallery.

‘A degree show is a daunting yet euphoric moment where the culmination of three years’ work is exhibited to the public. More times than not , this exhibition is the first, and often the last that a graduate participates in. Therefore, maintain the momentum by opting to carry on producing art , and being given the opportunity to exhibit further, is crucial for an artist at the beginning of their career.

The chance to participate in the Clyde & Co Art Award created self-confidence and increased my drive to exhibit my work after completing my degree. To date, I have also been provided with the specialist legal support offered as part of the project, discussing the intricacies of the business side of art that are often overlooked within universities. I would consider this contribution a key element in my transition from student to artist.’

‘A Dull Head Among Windy Spaces’ and ‘Sal Volatile’ 2012/13 Collection

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