BETTIE MORTON’S : THE BRIXTON OPEN ART PRIZE 2005

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen

I am absolutely delighted to welcome you all to the Brixton Open Art Awards 2005 and thank you for coming.

The Brixton Open is a special event which celebrates the rich creativity found in this community. Now in its fourth year the event has grown bigger and better each year. This year over 200 pieces were submitted and 91 pieces were selected to go into the competition. All entries were of very high standard, clearly demonstrating talent, originality and artistic vision. I personally felt sorry for the Judges who had a difficulty task in the selection process.

I hope you will enjoy viewing the artworks on display here tonight. Talk to the artists (who have badges to identify themselves) about what inspires them and about their experiences. This year’s prizes include a 1st prize of £1,000, the Camberwell College of Arts Prize of £250 and most important of all the People’s Prize. A contribution from all the tickets sold here tonight will go towards the people’s prize. Please use your voting tokens to vote for your favourite piece to win tonight.

The Brixton Open is a community. It would wrong for me to stand here tonight and say I have done it all on my own. It is a collective process with members of the Brixton Open Committee who I owe much gratitude. They have worked tirelessly to make this event happen. My whole hearted thanks to: Charles Barclay; of Charles Barclay Architects; Chris Tongeman; of the The Crocodile; Maynard Eziah; owner of the Lounge; Rachel Heywood and Keith McKinstosh

From its humble beginnings in 2002 each year it has grown bigger clearly demonstrating the need such an event. Unfortunately whilst the event has grown the funds have not matched the growth. We do not receive any funding and it takes a great deal of our limited resources. It is expensive to stage and in order to carry on in the future it needs financial support. I believe in it and I think it is important for the artists and the community in which we live. If anyone here would like to be a sponsor or get involved in next year’s event please let me know or contact any of the committee members.

In short while the announcements of this year’s winners will be made.

Before this there are a few people I would like to thank:

I very much like to thank all the artists who have entered this year. I would also like to thank Dr Charlie Easmon of Number One Health Clinic in Harley Street and Keith McKinstosh who have contributed to this year’s 1st Prize. Camberwell College of Arts for sponsoring the 2nd prize.

I would also like to thank this year’s judging panel: My thanks go to:
Ian Dejardin, Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery
Mark Irving; art journalist, writer and broadcaster
Kimathi Donker: Artist
Deborah: Award winning Journalist with the Independent
Mark McGowan: Contravesional artist in Peckham
Maynard Ezhiah: Actor and owner of the Lounge

There are so many people to thank who have all contributed to the making of this event. I would to thank Rab for coordinating the project and keeping his cool under pressure and Tara for promoting the event injecting so much positive energy. All the volunteers who have worked very hard to turn this into a splendid party venue. I would like to thank all the Musicians and performers here tonight.
In particular, I would to thank Felix Buxton of Basement Jaxx for his unwavering support each year.
Before we move on the prize giving I pass back to Tara to announce our fantastic line up of performers.
Ladies and Gentle Thank you very much.