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Woking proves its creative might in major community arts showcase

18th March 2021

Victoria Place Art Project proves a big hit with Woking’s burgeoning artistic community

A major exhibition of Woking’s best artistic talent is set to take place this May, rounding off the competition of the one of the largest ever local art competitions to take place in the UK.

Launched in partnership with Victoria Square Woking Ltd, The Lightbox museum and gallery and #WeAreWoking, the competition attracted more than 500 entries and has helped to create a stellar line-up of stunning artistic works for generations to enjoy.

The special exhibition entitled Victoria Place Art Project: Open House will feature the prize-winning works and a showcase of some entries will now take place at the Upper Gallery at The Lightbox. The exhibition opens on May 22 in an exclusive Lightbox member weekend event before opening to the public on the 25 May.

The aim behind the open call was to provide a unique chance for the people of Woking to contribute towards the development, connecting the site with the town and its people – and the winning contributions have already won a big seal of public approval as part of a virtual showcase of paintings, drawings, photography, textiles and sculptures at The Lightbox.

The new Hilton hotel, which is set to launch later this year, has also commissioned a series of works which celebrate the local area by three of the winning artists, Sarah Evans, Nick Wotton and Elaine Balmer, which will become permanent fixtures in this stunning new location.

Marilyn Scott, director of The Lightbox, said the competition unearthed a swathe of artistic talent, enthusiasm and skill and was helping to drive a new resurgence of local interest in the arts.

“The Victoria Place Art Project has put local creativity at the heart of Woking’s transformation and inspired an unprecedented number of people from all backgrounds, those with experience – and none – to put their brilliantly diverse ideas into something that can be shared by everyone.

“Our clear message is that ‘art has the power to make you feel good’ and there’s no denying that our prize-winning contributions are making a real impact and I can’t wait for these important works to be thoroughly enjoyed online for now in our special virtual exhibition and in person when we safely reopen in May.

“I’m also delighted that that the talent of two of local artists have caught the attention of the Hilton and that visitors and guests will soon appreciate new works which are being created for this iconic destination.”

A total of 10 winners were carefully selected by judges, who were particularly looking for work that has a contemporary feel, reflecting contemporary themes and concerns across a range of categories.

They include William Butler (drawing), Francoise Davies (photography), Layona Bungay (painting), Dawn Conn (sculpture), Charlie Tolley (textiles) and Barbara Nati (print). Prize winners in the 11-19 age group categories were Emmeline Stanley, Mana Komatsu, and Annie Lewry.

The People’s Prize was awarded to John Sherrington for his stunning photograph entitled ‘Too good to put down.’

“Borough-wide initiatives such as these are invaluable in helping to spread The Lightbox’s message that “Art has the power to make you feel good”, as well as supporting the organisation’s social purpose, to improve the quality and lives of its community,” Marilyn Scott said.

The exhibition of selected artworks is now available to view on The Lightbox website at