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Winners of the 2010 John Fries Memorial Prize announced

The winners of the inaugural John Fries Memorial Prize 2010 were announced last night at the opening of the finalists’ exhibition, at Viscopy’s new contemporary art space, Blackfriars off Broadway.

The competition was open to emerging Australian artists of all ages and disciplines who are not represented in a regional, state, territory or national public art collection. At its inception, the John Fries Memorial Prize 2010 offered a first prize of $10,000 to the winning artist and a solo exhibition at Blackfriars off Broadway in early 2011.

Viscopy and the organisers of the John Fries Memorial Prize 2010 wish to thank the 300 artists who submitted entries. The calibre of the works submitted was of such a high standard that selecting just one winner was difficult. The panel of three judges thus decided to award first and second prizes.

Sixteen finalists were selected and their works are now on exhibit at Blackfriars off Broadway until 30 September 2010. Congratulations to all finalists.

The winners of the John Fries Memorial Prize 2010 are: First Prize of $10,000 + an exhibition at Blackfriars off Broadway is Melbourne artist, Hannah Bertram. Second prize of $5,000 + an exhibition at Blackfriars off Broadway is Melbourne artist, Melanie Irwin.

The John Fries Memorial Prize is an annual prize donated by the Fries family in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of Viscopy.

Viscopy chairman, Jeremy Thorpe said: “Viscopy is delighted to be a part of this entrepreneurial award made possible by the generosity of the Fries family in honour of the memory of our colleague John Fries. The prize is substantial and acknowledges the difficulty many visual artists face in making a living through their art.”

In delivering a keynote address to members of the visual arts community, Red Cross NSW Executive Director, Lewis Kaplan, honoured the memory of John Fries and recognised John’s contribution to Australian Red Cross. “John was an indefatigable advocate of Red Cross. He contributed considerable business acumen and played an active role in governance and leadership. John is sorely missed by colleagues, members and volunteers at the Red Cross.

The decision to award the John Fries Memorial Prize to emerging artists of any age and discipline is an important symbol of John’s world view as a humanitarian” he said.