LivingEdge School Arts Competition 2019

Max Cooper, Winner of our Under 14 category

Max Cooper, Winner of our Under 14 category - Credit: Archant

The 19th 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.

The annual Schools Art Competition attracts entries from talented young artists from across the region and 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 2019 the sheer variety of submissions, from ceramic 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 – Geoffrey Key, one of the UK’s most collected living artists; Mark Small, and Chloe Gallacher from sponsors Jones Homes; Trevor and Susan Walker, from sponsors Fred Aldous, kind suppliers of prizes for the winners and each entrant; our Chair, Martin Heaps, owner of Collect Art in Lymm; and I prowled amongst the entries, debating the merits of each and exclaiming at the quality of the selection.

In the 14 and Under category we were hugely impressed by the piece presented by our winner, Max Cooper, of Cheadle Hulme School, whose vast painting of a resplendent lion was considered extremely mature. The judges were also impressed by Sophie Ballin, from Withington Girls’ School and Madeline Soh, of Manchester High School for Girls, whose portrait impressed all the judges.

In the 16 and Under category we were blown away by our winner Dalia Hodari, from Withington Girls’ School. Her mixed media portrait of a smoking man was deemed to be truly superb and we can’t wait to see how this young artist develops. Highly Commended in this category were Mia Hard Af Segerstad-Smith from The King’s School Chester and Imara Silvester of Sedburgh School, whose triptych of a dancer was beautifully dynamic.

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 media that challenged and absorbed in equal measure.

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The winner, Laura Scott, gave us a very assured portrait of her grandfather, who was there at the exhibition and so proud of his grand-daughter. Our Highly Commended entrants, Hannah Wolowacz from Cheadle Hulme School and Hannah Barton from The Grange School, demonstrated considerable talent.

It may be that some of these young people pursue a future in art and for others that it may remain no more than a hobby; whichever path they choose, we both envy their skill and wish them luck for their future.


14 & Under


Max Cooper, Cheadle Hulme School

Highly Commended

Sophia Ballin, Withington Girls’ School

Madeline Soh, Manchester High School for Girls

16 & Under


Dalia Hodari, Withington Girls’ School

Highly Commended

Mia hard Af, Segerstad-Smith, The King’s School Chester

Imara Sylvester, Sedbergh School

18 & Under


Laura Scott, The King’s School Chester

Highly Commended

Hannah Wolowacz, Cheadle Hulme School

Hannah Barton, The Grange School