Friday 5 September 2008

Money, mouth, money

I had a little whinge earlier this week about the Walters Prize, and noted that my main reservation is the time lag between the show an artist is nominated for and the final award. You all (well - 75% of those of you who voted - thanks!) predicted Peter Robinson will take out this year's award, which I feel underlines my case: Ack already feels like a long time ago in terms of Robinson's fast-moving practice.

So it was interesting to read this article about the Canadian Sobey Art Award this morning. The Sobey is "Canada's pre-eminent prize for a young Canadian artist", awarded annually to an artist 40 years old or younger. The winner gets CA$50,000. The long list this year included 25 artists: the short list is made up of 5 artists, one each from the five regions.

But where's the interesting bit, I hear you say? Well, the article is about the Sobey's responses over time to criticisms from the art community. The Sobey is now handed out annually rather than biannually, a move to retain media interest which evaporated in the off-years. Prize money has also been ramped up for the winner and the runners-up (as I recall, this has also happened for the Walters).

Personally, I like the Arts Foundation awards. Say what you like about the selection of recipients, to me they seem to get to the crux of the matter of supporting artists - identifying people who are doing well, and giving them a bundle of (pretty much) obligation-free cash in the hope this will enable them to do even better. One day, when I have some money of my own, I hope to put it where my mouth is.

Now, off to find out how to make squillions by running a hedge-fund ....

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