Spirit - Emma Money
Spirit - Emma Money

Harrogate artist Emma Money has been shortlisted for The Arts Society’s prestigious Isolation Artwork Competition

2 June 2020

Eight young artists between the ages of 18 and 22 and from across the country have been shortlisted for The Arts Society’s Isolation Artwork Competition in support of young artists and students during lockdown. Their artworks will form a virtual exhibition hosted on The Arts Society Connected website from Tuesday 2nd June where members of The Arts Society as well as members of the public will have a chance to vote for their favourite.

The 8 shortlisted artists were asked to respond to the theme of isolation and have produced new works that reflect the artists experience of lockdown. May of the works explore feelings of uncertainty, isolation, loneliness as well as nature, connection, and love, using subject matter ranging  from self-portrait to shielding loved ones, and materials ranging from acrylic to biro and  pencil.

Emma Money,  18 from Harrogate. has been shortlisted.

Emma’s piece truly captures the context of our time, reminiscent of a virtual Zoom get together, with the NHS Rainbow colour scheme. Titled Spirit (acrylic on canvas), t

Emma said:

Many of us are unable to see our loved ones so I decided to launch this project, asking people to send in photographs taken over the lockdown period (using facetime etc) of the people they miss the most. I then painted these and collaged them together, and will be now posting the paintings to them or as a surprise to their loved ones, to remind people they are loved. I wanted to just give a little bit back to those who are experiencing it most, therefore all the money that I received for the commissions will be donated to the NHS (minus the postage). I wanted to collate them and use the raw edges to act as a metaphor for the physical barriers between us, but with the pictures all attached demonstrating regardless of the distance we are all still together in spirit.

Emma is studying a Fashion Design course at the University of Salford.

Emma said:

I’ve returned to live back home with my parents, and have continued studying online with my university. It meant leaving behind my friends and my boyfriend in another city, however has given more space to renew my creativity.

Emma’s work will be exhibited as part of a virtual exhibition hosted on The Arts Society Connected website from Tuesday 2nd June, where members of the public will have a chance to vote for their favourite. Many of the works explore feelings of uncertainty, isolation, and loneliness as well as nature, connection, and love, using subject matter ranging from self-portrait to shielding loved ones, and materials ranging from acrylic to biro and pencil.

PG Tips by Abigail McGourlay (20, Sheffield)

Abigail McGourlay 20 from Sheffield painted a self-portrait titled PG Tips of herself drinking  a cup of tea in the bath, two things she has found comforting during lockdown.

Abigail said of the experience of painting during lockdown:

I’ve struggled with the current situation both mentally and physically. The uncertainty of lockdown put me in quite a stressful mindset and i found it, at first, difficult to feel motivated. But it is due to lockdown that i have rediscovered my love of painting. This piece captures a real moment of comfort, in both my two favourite things, a warm bubble bath and a hot cup of tea and in myself.

My Future by Annie Doron (19, Keswick)

Annie Doran 19 from Cumbria was living in Canada and had to return home when lockdown  started. Her piece My Future, explores the uncertainty for the post lockdown future coupled with the uncertainty of Brexit.

Annie said:

This drawing highlights feelings such as: betrayal, loneliness, letdown and isolation which many young people are experiencing.

Shinrin Yoku by Ella Sambrook (19, Colchester)

Ella Sambrook 19 from Colchester has noticed that lockdown and isolation has helped her to form a deeper connection to her natural surroundings. Inspired by  Shinrin Yoku the ancient Japanese practice, known as ‘forest bathing’  Ella’s artwork is painted on tree stumps.

Ella said:

Lockdown has inspired me to become more in touch with my surroundings, considering how the natural environment makes me feel and how we need to strive to protect it.

Hope by Erin Hartnett (19, Hertford)

Erin Hartnett 19 from Hertford was studying History at Leeds when lockdown started and she had to return home. She has drawn a series of sketches Hope and Resilience of loved  ones using biro to bring a little happiness in this time of uncertainty.

Erin said:

During this time many people will be missing their loved ones, as I am missing my grandparents and baby cousin. This piece was intended to spread some hope to those who are struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Four other artists are also included in the shortlist for  the award:  Indigo Price  22 from London, Toby Richardson 19 from Chichester, Sophie Meadows  and 19 from Chichester. The shortlist was selected by a panel of judges including Rebecca Hossack, Charlie Waite and Dan Evans. The winner will be  announced on 7th July following a public vote. The winner will have their artwork featured on The  Arts Society  Membership card 2021, the winning artist will also receive a £50 Cass Art voucher.

Members of the public wanting to vote for their favourite isolation artwork can do so here: https://www.connected.theartssociety.org/isolation-artwork-competition

With 90,000+ members, the Arts Society is a leading arts education charity with a global network of over 380 local Societies, which bring people together through a shared curiosity for the arts and help to support young artists in the early stages of their career.  In April, The Arts Society launched The Arts Society Connected a digital platform with the aim of help older members of the population stay connected, educated, entertained and informed during lockdown.

Florian Schweizer, Chief Executive of The Arts Society:

The Arts Society is delighted to be able to offer a virtual exhibition and competition to support young artists during lockdown. We want to recreate and promote a sense of community, belonging and connection during a time of isolation and distancing. We believe the arts have the power to bring people together, and we will not let this virus stop communities from enjoying the arts with each other.

The Judges


Rebecca Hossack is the Director of three internationally-renowned galleries – two in central London and one in New York. Hossack is credited with introducing Aboriginal art to Europe, and has curated important collections from Papua New Guinea, tribal India and the Bushmen of the Kalahari.  Hossack writes regularly in the national press and lectures internationally on Aboriginal art, contributing to the Macmillan Dictionary of Art (1996) and the Oxford History of Western Art (2000). She has curated many exhibitions of Aboriginal and non-Western art both in the UK and worldwide, working closely with the British Museum, the V&A, the Bristol City Art Gallery, the Harrogate Art Gallery, the Horniman Museum, Leicester City Art Galleries, and the De Young Museum in San Francisco. Hossack also campaigns to preserve rock art in Western Australia’s Burrup peninsular.



Charlie Waite  is the grandfather of landscape photography in the UK, it’s foremost practitioner he is also the founder of The Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, now in its fourteenth year. Charlie has taken photos professionally for over 35 years and is firmly established as one of the world’s most celebrated international landscape photographers. He has published 28 books on photography and has held over 30 solo exhibitions across Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia.



Formerly Head of History of Art at Wycombe Abbey, Dan is now Deputy Head of Sixth Form at Cheltenham College where he teaches History and History of Art and coaches rowing.  He has run trips for school groups, gap year students, parents and adults and is an accredited The Arts Society (formerly NADFAS) lecturer.  In 2008 he was awarded by the Daily Telegraph and Wanderlust Magazine World Guide Of The Year.  He lives in Cheltenham with his wife and two sons Hector and Tobias. Rome is his favourite city, Velázquez and Degas are his favourite non-Italian painters.

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