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Could you be Sky Arts portrait of the year 2014?

SET UP your easel and stretch your canvas, Sky Arts cracks open a fresh tube of paint to search for a talented artist who can be crowned Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014.

Following the enormous success of the first series, Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner will return to present Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014.

They will be joined by the judges; award-winning portrait artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, former Director of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy and the National Portrait Gallery Kathleen Soriano and Kate Bryan, Head of Contemporary at the Fine Art Society, in the search across the UK and Ireland for a new star of the art world.

The competition will be filmed over the summer and broadcast on Sky Arts in October. The series finalists will see their work exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery for a month and the winner will be awarded a £10,000 major commission for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

The prize commission will be exhibited at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and will become part of its permanent art collection. The winner will also receive a year’s supply of art materials courtesy of leading fine art supplier Cass Art.

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014 will aim to discover and nurture artists of all capabilities who want to showcase their skills, whether amateur, professional or hobbyist. Anyone aged 16 and over is invited to apply.

Further information on how to participate can be found at sky.com/portrait. Entries will close on the May 1.

Shortlisted artists will be invited to attend one of six regional heats over summer 2014. At these heats, participants will be challenged to produce a portrait of one of three famous sitters. At the end of each heat the judges will choose one artist to go through to the next round of the competition.

The heats will take place in:
• London on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th May
• Dublin on Sunday 15th June
• Edinburgh on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th July
• Cardiff on Sunday 13th July

The winners from the heats will then take part in more extraordinary portrait challenges with the semi-final to be held in London and the grand final taking place at the National Portrait Gallery. The overall winner will be chosen by the series’ judges together with Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

Joan Bakewell said: "We knew the UK and Ireland was brimming with artistic talent but we were amazed at the standard of entries in the first series. That’s the reason I can’t wait to get started on this second series. Hopefully we can find the next Gainsborough or Freud!”

Frank Skinner added: “Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014 is a hugely exciting project. I had such a fantastic time last year learning all about painting and watching some really talented artist progress through the competition. I jumped at the chance to host the series again.”

Christopher Baker, Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery: “This is a great initiative for promoting the fascinating art of portraiture and finding new talented painters. It’s terrific news that the winner will be awarded a major commission for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery – we look forward hugely to unveiling their work in Edinburgh.”

Philip Edgar-Jones, Sky Arts Channel Director: “We were delighted to discover how many people entered the first series of Portrait Artist of the Year 2014. The second series aims to emulate its success and find some amazing new talent who can truly wow the judges and Sky Arts viewers with their artistic endeavours and perseverance.”

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014 marks a further development for Sky Arts which champions innovative and original art series, and which underlines Sky’s promise to deliver high-quality, exclusive content to customers.

The series will be produced for Sky Arts by StoryVault Films. The Executive Producer for the series will be Danielle Graham, StoryVault Films. It was commissioned by Deborah Sargeant, Commissioning Editor, Sky.

For details of how to participate in Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014 please visit www.sky.com/portrait

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