THE winners of the first Daily Echo-backed Bournemouth and Poole Art Prize, which offered £8,000-worth of prizes, have been announced.

It was created to encourage residents from the county, through a mixed range of art mediums, with prizes on offer for first, second and third in each of the four categories.

Nick Day, head of art at the college, said that the pot of money was put aside for the art prize because they are serious about supporting the arts and generating the best creative outcomes from the county’s residents.

“We wanted a democratic prize as there are some big prizes out there that all support the arts community who are already established, but our prize is different because it’s about people in the county.”

Michael Spender, curator of Poole Museum, said it was a privilege to help judge the shortlisted entrants. He said: “I think that the other judges will agree that it was really difficult to choose the winners. There was such a high standard across the work.”

Stuart Semple, artist, said: “It’s been a massive success. I was really hoping to see a diversity of amazing artistic talent from Dorset and there was no disappointment on that.

“The quality was astounding, but we had an absolutely massive presentation of digital work, which tells us where we are at the moment, but I would like to see more painting and drawing and things, but maybe that’s just me personally.”

Tony Worobiec, international photographer, said: “The more the college described this art prize, the more excited I got. I think that the work itself is stunning and judging it was extraordinarily difficult.

“I think towards the end it became a subjective rather than an objective decision. I must admit that I particularly like the idea of rewarding young artists, because I think there’s something about youth that has an audacity about it.”