University art competition draws support from ‘Mr Coventry’

A well known local businessman is lending his support to a competition for artists at Coventry University.

Joe Elliott, affectionately nicknamed ‘Mr Coventry’ due to his family business’s prominent and long-standing role in the city, is sponsoring the university’s 2014 Drawing Prize.

Now in its fifth year and open to all members of the University community including students past and present as well as staff, the annual competition celebrates and showcases the art and craft of drawing. It provides entrants with the opportunity to display their work to the public at forthcoming exhibitions taking place in Rugby and Coventry but Joe’s involvement means that the university can also provide cash prizes to the competition winners.

A celebrated local figure who works tirelessly for the community, Joe has just returned to the helm of his family’s garage business, which has been a fixture in the city for over a hundred years. Joe’s also been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours list for his services to museums and, as a proud Coventrian and passionate advocate for the arts, he’s keen to assist the university in its efforts to promote local talent.

It’s not the first time that Joe has lent his support, having previously sponsored exhibitions at the university’s School of Art and Design’s yearly Degree Show, and staff within the school are delighted that he is once again lending his backing to their creative endeavours with the establishment of the Coventry University and Elliott’s Drawing Prize 2014.  

Jonathan Waller, senior lecturer in fine art at Coventry University, said: “We’re immensely grateful for Joe’s generous contribution to this year’s drawing competition, which provides a wonderful platform for artists to show off their talents to the public.

“It’s great to have leading local business people like Joe on board, supporting us in our attempts to promote cultural activities across the region, and I’m hopeful that the cash prizes that we are able to offer thanks to Joe will provide some extra motivation for entrants!”

Joe Elliott added: “It’s wonderful to see the  university nurturing creative talent through their drawing competition. Events like this provide a great chance for budding artists to put their skills to the test and hopefully see their work on show so I’m very happy to contribute.”

The closing date for entries is Friday 21st February 2014. Submissions will be judged by Grace Elliott, Jill Journeaux, Jonathan Waller, Eve Hyde-Davis and Alan Dyer. The winner of the Coventry University and Elliott’s Drawing Prize will receive £1,000, with the runner up receiving £500.

The selected drawings will be on public display at the Lewis Gallery in Rugby School between 12th and 21st March and the Lanchester Gallery, Coventry between 28th April and 16th  May 2014.