Erwood Station Craft Centre, set inside a historic train station, is launching its first-ever art competition from early April through to the end of September.

Inspired by Sky Arts ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ TV show, the competition aims to crown an overall winner of Erwood Station’s ‘Amateur Artist of the Year’, but also to encourage anyone with an interest in art to learn new skills and techniques. They also hope to raise awareness on why art is so important to mental health, and to light a spark in everyone involved to fully embrace what makes art so important. They will also raise money for causes close to people’s hearts along the way.

The hope is that the competition will become an annual event.

Organisers have approached and have the backing of multiple well-known local artists to the Station; including David Bellamy.

They hope to find the backing of more artists and organisations alike to put their name to the competition. Along with the arts, this competition will aim to highlight other important areas of interest and importance to people. With each heat, their chosen ‘guest sitter’ will be there to either represent or highlight a cause or campaign that’s personal to them.

The competition will begin in April and end in September.

There will be 5 competition entries completing a portrait of a surprise ‘Guest Sitter’, within a 4-hour time slot in each heat.

At the end of the 4 hours, each portrait will then be judged by a panel of judges; professional artist David Bellamy, amateur artist Jenni Hall for example, and an invited third guest judge who will change with each heat.

The winner of the heat will then go through to the final in September when they will have to compete again for a chance to become the overall winner of Erwood’s ‘Amateur Portrait Artist of the Year’.

Members of the public are encouraged to watch the competition progress. Entries of the competition will be asked to pay for their seat in the competition at £15 each (£16.96 through the online booking platform).