Due to national government announcements related to the recent coronavirus outbreak, we have made the regrettable decision to cancel the Great Northern Art Challenge for 2020. 

While we tried our best to hold on for as long as possible in the hope that the event may still go ahead, it is now evident that we will not be able to make this event as great as it could be.

While it is disappointing to cancel, we encourage everyone to follow the guidance of the World Health Organisation and local public health officials, and look forward to seeing you at upcoming events.

We will be issuing full refunds this week to those who have already bought tickets. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@artchallenge.co.uk

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What is the Great Northern
Art Challenge?

The Great Northern Art Challenge is a one day art event, in the idyllic setting of St John's Chapel in Weardale, North Pennines.

Open to all ages and abilities, it's an opportunity to join other art enthusiasts and professionals in an exciting and ambitious new project.

It is not-for-profit and aims to unite the local and national art community with a unique and brilliant way to meet and network with other artists, explore the local areas of natural beauty and gain great exposure for your artwork.

The Great Northern Art Challenge will be an unforgettable artistic adventure and a bloody good day out!



How To Find Us

St John's Chapel is a village in County Durham, in England, at the heart of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  It is situated in Weardale, on the south side of the River Wear on the A689 road between Daddry Shield and Ireshopeburn.

Registration and judging will take place in the village Town Hall,  situated in the centre of the village.

Market Place
Saint John's Chapel
Bishop Auckland
DL13 1QF
United Kingdom

Wheelchair access available.


Cancelled for 2020

The Great Northern Art Challenge is cancelled for 2020, please see our statement above.



Timeline of Events
on The Day



Meet us in St Johns Chapel Town Hall from 10am for competition registration.

Here you will receive an official authenticity stamp on the back of your paper, canvas, board or chosen media.

You will receive a little goody bag, including a guide of suggested beauty spots in the local area.

Go out to explore Weardale and complete your artworks.



Return your finished piece to the Town Hall no later than 2pm for judging to commence.

A designated area in the Town Hall will be available from 2pm to mount, frame or 'prepare' your art, ready for judging at 2.30.

There will be space for you to mount and frame your work if you so wish.



Whilst judging is taking place, Weardale's own internationally acclaimed professional artist, Mark Rowney, will be demonstrating some of his specialist art techniques and answering any questions you have.



Once the judges have finished, their Third, Second and First place winners will be announced.

This is a great opportunity to check out your fellow artists' work and celebrate our achievements.



To round off the days events, we have professional artist, Paula Dunn, Britain’s leading artist in the field of cold waxing, to demonstrate and talk about her methods.



We're heading to the pub for a well-deserved pint of ale. Feel free to join us, otherwise, we'll see you next year!


Meet the Panel

We all accept that art is entirely subjective and the judges will have an extremely hard job to choose just a handful of artworks as winners. Our judges have been carefully chosen for their varied experience in the art world.


Stuart Gray

Stuart Gray has been an illustrator and graphic designer since leaving college in the early seventies. Stuart works with different media but his specialism is acrylic. He enjoys painting landscapes and still life and he has filled a fair number of sketchbooks over the years!

Speciality: Landscape, acrylic

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Ruth Clayton

Ruth qualified as a Graphic Designer, specialising in illustration at Leeds Metropolitan University. Since then she has spent time as an Art teacher working in high schools, and more recently ran the successful Art studio, 'Wickerfish' at Cedar Farm Galleries.

Speciality: Landscape, watercolour

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Book your place in the Great Northern Art Challenge

Places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.

Follow the links opposite to buy tickets through Eventbrite.



Use the ticket purchase form above to purchase tickets through Eventbrite.

Turn up at the town hall on the day.

Yes! There is a ramp for wheelchair access.

The Art Challenge will take place rain or shine.

We suggest bringing an umbrella. There is a lovely view of the village from Chatterbox cafe, or you could take a photo and come back to the town hall to produce your work.

This year we are keeping to a predominantly 2D entrant format.

Yes, well-behaved dogs are more than welcome to tag along to keep you company!

Dogs must be kept on a lead when in the town hall and in private fields.

Weardale is sheep farming country so make sure you adhere to the countryside code at all times.

You can participate in as much or as little of the activities as you wish, however a full ticket is still required.

No. All work must be produced in the allotted time frame and your blank canvas/paper will be stamped on the back when you arrive to ensure no foul play.

Make as much art as you want, however only one entry is permitted per ticket.

There are a few pubs and cafes in the village that serve food and drink and a few more in neighbouring villages.

Alternatively, you can bring a packed lunch or purchase snacks from the co-op situated opposite the town hall.

Due to limited capacity, you will need to book online via the form above to avoid disappointment on the day.


For all enquiries please email: