The John Ruskin Prize: History & Legacy


John Ruskin Prize


The John Ruskin Prize: Where Art Meets Legacy

Ah, the John Ruskin Prize. If you've ever dabbled in the world of art, design, or just love a good social critique, you've probably heard of it. But for those of you who haven't, let's dive in.

The John Ruskin Prize isn't just any art competition. It's a multidisciplinary fiesta, with the values of the radical 19th-century polymath, John Ruskin, at its very core. Now, if you're scratching your head wondering who John Ruskin is, let me enlighten you. Ruskin was a writer, artist, social critic, and philanthropist. Quite the resume, right? He believed that art has the power to reveal and celebrate universal truths. And this prize? It's all about that.

Organized by The Big Draw in association with the Guild of St George, the Ruskin Prize has been supporting and promoting artists, designers, and makers since 2012. And when I say it supports artists, I mean those whose work doesn't fit neatly into a box. We're talking about works that defy easy categorization. The kind of art that makes you go, "Huh, that's different."

Over the years, the prize has evolved, embracing Ruskin's polymathic sensibilities. In 2017, the theme was "Hand & Eye: Master of All Trades," focusing on interdisciplinary practice. And for 2024? The prize is going global, welcoming entries from photographers and artists from all corners of the world.

But let's take a trip down memory lane. In 2019, the theme was "Agent of Change." The call for entries opened on Ruskin's birthday, and a record number of artists responded. The exhibition was hosted at the Holden Gallery in Manchester, showcasing the works of 41 shortlisted artists.

The Ruskin Prize isn't just about the art. It's about the legacy. It's about championing the tenets of the welfare state, inspiring the founders of public libraries, the National Trust, and more. It's about making a difference, just as Ruskin did in his time.

So, if you're an artist looking to make a mark, to challenge the norms, and to be a part of a legacy, the John Ruskin Prize might just be your calling.

And for those of you who are just here for the art, trust me, it's worth a look. The Ruskin Prize is more than a competition; it's a movement. It's about seeing the unseen and hearing the unspoken. It's about art, legacy, and everything in between.

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