Young Shropshire artists given cash boost by Arts Society

Two young people from Telford and Wrekin have been awarded £1,500 each towards their art careers at a time when it couldn't be more vital as the industry struggles.

Jacob Chandler, a sculptor from Telford
Jacob Chandler, a sculptor from Telford

The Arts Society Wrekin has awarded the money to Jacob Chandler, a 25-year-old sculptor, and Kate Woodman, a 16-year-old actress, as part of the Frank Harthill Award which was to be awarded to young artists after Mr. Harthill, a member of the society, died.

Frank's wife, Anne, donated the money to the society after his death and the current chairman, David Franklin, said that Frank would be so proud of the two people they've picked as recipients.

After 14 applicants, Jacob and Kate were interviewed on Zoom and chosen as joint winners this month.

"It has taken a huge amount of work and we, as a society, are so pleased to be able to make this award to two such good people at a time that those involved in the arts are struggling financially," David said.

"It could not happen at a better time really. It has been worth the wait from our point of view. The people who have won the award will really benefit from the extra money we can give them.

"All the applicants were so good and its nice that we can support local artists as well. If Frank were alive he would be over the moon with how their money has gone to helping these two young people."

Kate Woodman

Jacob Chandler is 25 years old and lives in Wellington, having gone to Thomas Telford School.

David said: "He is not only an exceptional sculptor but an extremely nice person. Whilst he works from the garage at the bottom of his garden, he was recently commissioned to produce a stunning three-metre-high bronze at the Telford Shopping Centre."

Kate Woodman is a 16-year-old scholar at Shrewsbury School, and when not at school she lives in Bridgnorth.

"Kate is, amongst other things, an exceptional singer and actress and, like Jacob, a delightful and unassuming person," David said. "She has recently been made a full company member of the National Youth Theatre until she is 26 years old, and is committed to a career in performing arts.

"Both Jacob and Kate made it very clear how they would use any award made to them, and they will be delighted to come to see us all in a year’s time to let the membership know how they’ve benefitted from the award.

"Because we were so impressed by the candidates, the committee elected to dip into our charitable fund to allow us to award £1,500 to each winner, and also £200 to each of the three runners up."

To find out more about The Arts Society Wrekin, visit www.theartssocietywrekin.org.uk/.

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