Living Edge Schools Art Competition 2022

Living Edge Schools Art Geoffrey Key artist and Emma Rodgers sculptor

Geoffrey Key with Emma Rodgers - Credit: MJH

The 21st Living Edge Schools Art Competition saw an extraordinary and varied array of entries, the sheer talent of every entrant making the judges’ task almost impossible

We celebrated the return of the Living Edge Schools Art Competition in grand style this year, with a gallery exhibition of all the entries at Collect Art in Lymm: 36 artworks from 13 schools from across the region. This year, as in previous years, the job of judging who should be named winner in each section was incredibly tough, demanding serious debate.  

In 2022 the sheer variety of submissions, from 3D to mixed media to pencil drawings to paint made the judges’ task even more challenging, leading us to marvel at the breadth and depth of skill already present in the contestants at such a young age.  

The judges: Martin Heaps of Collect Art, our kind hosts, Kate Houghton, Emma Rodgers and Geoffrey Key

The judges: Martin Heaps of Collect Art, our kind hosts, Kate Houghton, Emma Rodgers and Geoffrey Key - Credit: MJH

The judges – Geoffrey Key, one of the UK’s most collected living artists; sculptor Emma Rodgers, whose work can be found in private collections and public spaces around the globe, our Chair, Martin Heaps, owner of Collect Art in Lymm; and I - prowled amongst the entries, debating the merits of each and marvelling at the quality of the selection.    

Lydia Pellatt, Cheadle Hulme School, won in the age 14 and under category

Lydia Pellatt, Cheadle Hulme School, won in the age 14 and under category - Credit: MJH

In the 14 and Under category we were hugely impressed by the piece presented by our winner, Lydia Pellatt, of Cheadle Hulme School, whose painting of an artichoke was considered extremely mature; this young artist is certainly one to watch.

The judges were also impressed by Guiseppe Pezzino, Manchester Grammar School,

Guisppe Pezzino, Manchester Grammar School, was Highly Commended in age 14 and under

Guisppe Pezzino, Manchester Grammar School, was Highly Commended in age 14 and under - Credit: Guiseppe Pezzino

and Benji Rawling, of The Grange School, whose sculpture was not only finely constructed, but incredibly well finished. 

Benji Rawling, with his sculpture

Benji Rawling, with his sculpture - Credit: MJH

The winning entry in Aged 16 and under category, from Natalie Morris, Sedbergh School

The winning entry in Aged 16 and under category, from Natalie Morris, Sedbergh School - Credit: Natalie Morris

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In the 16 and Under category we were blown away by our winner Natalie Morris, from Sedbergh School. Her portrait of a man and his dog was simply beautiful.

Evie James, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, accepts her award from Emma Rodgers

Evie James, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, accepts her award from Emma Rodgers - Credit: MJH

Highly Commended in this category were Evie James of Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and Mariam Hussain, from Withington Girls’ School, also demonstrated considerable skill in two quite different pieces, both equally arresting. 

Mariam Hussain, from Withington Girls' School, won a Highly Commended award in the age 16 and under category

Mariam Hussain, from Withington Girls' School, won a Highly Commended award in the age 16 and under category - Credit: Mariam Hussain

Finally, the Under 18 category was the perfect summary of where we can expect our younger entrants to go; assured, sophisticated work encompassing a variety of inspirations that challenged and absorbed in equal measure.   

The winning piece in the 18 and under category was is by Mia Alexander, of Withington Girls' School

The winning piece in the 18 and under category was is by Mia Alexander, of Withington Girls' School - Credit: MJH

The winner, Mia Alexander, of Withington Girls’ School, gave us a portrait of two siblings, showing not only considerable technical skill, but the commencement of a quite unique and absorbing style. 

Jemima Howells, Altrincham Grammar School, with her painting of a dancer, which won a Highly Commended award

Jemima Howells, Altrincham Grammar School, with her painting of a dancer, which won a Highly Commended award - Credit: MJH

Our Highly Commended entrants, Jemima Howells from Altrincham Grammar School for Girls and Max Cooper, of Cheadle Hulme School, whose portrait of pop icon Prince combined drama with great skill. 

Max Cooper, Cheadle Hulme School, with his portrait of Prince

Max Cooper, Cheadle Hulme School, with his portrait of Prince - Credit: MJH

It may be that some of these young people pursue a future in art and for others that it may remain an important hobby; whichever path they choose, we both envy their skill and wish them luck for their future.  

Our winners  

14 & under  

Winner:  Lydia Pellatt, Cheadle Hulme School   

Highly Commended:   

Guiseppe Pezzano, Manchester Grammar School 

Benji Rawling, The Grange School  


16 & under  

Winner:  Natalie Morris, Sedbergh School 

Highly Commended:  

Evie James, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls 

Mariam Hussain, Withington Girls’ School  


18 & under  

Winner: Mia Alexander, Withington Girls’ School 

Highly Commended:  

Jemima Howells, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls 

Max Cooper, Cheadle Hulme School