20 years of Discerning sponsorship

The unique annual exhibition of small works of art, Discerning Eye, opens for the 27th time on November 15, the 20th to be sponsored by the European bank ING in one of the longest standing arts sponsorships.

Established in 1990, the Discerning Eye is an educational charity set up to encourage a wider appreciation of the visual arts. Submission are strictly limited in size partly to allow space for more works at the Mall Galleries where the exhibition has always been help, and partly to increase the challenges for the artists.

Image shows Lorna May Wadsworth's Sea Scout 1, exhibited in this year's Discerning Eye exhibition

Each year more than 2,000 artists submit and fewer than a tenth of them will be successful. This time around 450 paintings, drawings, sculptures, linocuts and etchings will be on display, some by artists showing for the first time, some familiar to art lovers. The best will win cash awards.

But for 20 years ING have made the selection and exhibition possible. During that time, said Małgorzata Kołakowska, ING’s CEO for the UK, Ireland and the Middle East, more than 2,500 artists have been exhibited, almost 10,000 works have been mounted and nearly a quarter of a million pounds has been awarded in prizes. Just as importantly, art worth more than £800,000 has been sold from the Discerning Eye show. 

As we celebrate this landmark year in our partnership” she said “the shared commitment of ING and Discerning Eye of encouraging emerging talent and making arts accessible to new audiences is at the fore.”

The work is chosen by six selectors, two critics, two artists and two collectors. This year they are: Sadie Clayton, artist and fashion designer; Bridget McCrum, artist; Cherie Federico, editor, Aesthetica Magazine; Frances Hedges, associate editor for Harper’s Bazaar and Town and Country; John Benjamin Hickey, actor; and Nick Ross, radio and television presenter. Exhibitions within one overall show.

Discerning Eye is at the Mall Galleries in London from November 15 to 25.

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