Leeds College of Art fine art graduate, Steven Ellis, receives the ‘Most Promising Student’ judge’s award, receiving a cash prize of £5,000 at the inaugural auction and ceremony of the Aon Community Art Award, held on 24th May at Aon’s global headquarters in London.
The Aon Community Art Award was launched by Aon in August 2015, with Aon’s Art Committee selecting work from the graduating students of Leeds College of Art and two other leading art schools (Glasgow and Manchester) to showcase in their client suite - viewed by clients, colleagues and visitors.
Josephine Wilson, Steven Ellis, Checka Levi Morenos, Harriet Galilee, Julie Kennedy, Danielle Whitaker, and Isabelle Gee from the College’s BA (Hons) Fine Art degree were all selected.
The esteemed Nick Bonham, was the special guest on the evening, bringing his expertise and professionalism to the event, as he auctioned off the graduates’ pieces; all of which had been selected by Aon’s Art Committee, with full proceeds going to the graduates. The chosen work has been on display in the Aon Centre Client Suite throughout the past year, in view of Aon colleagues, clients and visitors.
The graduates were eligible to win two awards on the evening: ‘Most Promising Student’ and ‘Most Popular Piece’. The ‘Most Promising Student’ award was presented by Charles Hamilton-Stubber, Managing Director - Aon Specialty, who shared his delight at being part of the initiative and presenting the award.
Steven Ellis, Leeds College of Art, was the proud winner of the Award, receiving a cash prize of £5,000. Steven’s work proved very popular both in the eyes of the judges and with Aon’s guests during the auction, with attendees keen to get their hands on the emerging talent’s work.
The judges explained their choice:-
“We were very impressed with the pieces and it was a hard call. However, after a lot of deliberation we chose Steven Ellis as this year’s winner. His work literally grabs you … His originality here is striking and he has a talented hand in figurative portraiture.”
It was a fantastic evening which showcased the artwork of students from three leading art schools, and enabled them the opportunity to network with guests from within the art industry, as well as Aon clients and insurance industry specialists.
The initiative has been supporting fine art students during their transition from undergraduates into professional life with all students involved invited to join a programme of workshops and events arranged by Aon to appreciate the commercial aspects of the art industry which include legal and insurance advice as well as tips on accessing galleries to have their art exhibited.
The evening truly reflected Aon’s passion to empower communities, with Katherine Conway, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Community, commenting,
“We are delighted that the inaugural year of the Aon Community Art Award culminated in such a fantastic event. Our commitment to developing talent was evident, as the young artists’ work received a great deal of interest, and the programme has been such a success. We’re looking forward to continuing our support of graduating artists next year.”
All of this year’s artwork can be viewed here.