Artist Jeremy Deller on the hunt for London's best young artists

03 February 2014

Award-winning artist Jeremy Deller will judge this year's Fourth Plinth Schools Awards, it was announced today.

Organised by the Mayor of London in partnership with Cass Art, the annual competition is open to all primary and secondary schools in the capital.

The Mayor Boris Johnson is calling on schoolchildren in every borough to get creative and produce their own work of art, inspired by the contemporary art commissions for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Last year's competition received a record-breaking 1,600 entries from youngsters, who came from every London borough and organisers hope even more will be inspired to take part in 2014.

The winners' artwork will be displayed through an exhibition at City Hall and there are some great art prizes up for grabs, thanks to awards partners Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplier. For the first time, there will even be prizes for teachers, to celebrate the launch of a Cass Art initiative later this year for art educators.

Those entering can use any medium, including drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, digital and video. Group and individual entries are welcome and there is no limit to the number that each school can put in. The closing date for entries is Thursday 20 March 2013. Teachers and pupils can find out more about the competition and how to apply at the website www.london.gov.uk/imagination.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'As well as being a high profile showcase for international artists, one of the aims of the Fourth Plinth is to get people looking at our great city in a different way. We particularly want to encourage young people to think about the role of public art in our city, especially the sculptures that have appeared on the plinth. Every year we are impressed by the number and extraordinary variety of ideas and themes and we want youngsters from every borough to be a part of this exciting competition.'

Schoolchildren have come up with brilliant ideas about what it means to be a Londoner, spanning everything from technology and architecture to globalisation and the environment.

Last year's winning entry, 'Queen on a Tube' by Malik from Childs Hill School, Barnet, depicted Her Majesty driving a Tube train to celebrate 150 years of the London Underground. Another winner, Jessica, from Latymer School, Enfield, created 'The Wire Tree', aimed at highlighting the impact of pollution on London. Lily, a pupil at Alexandra Park School, Haringey, came third with her artwork 'Our House' to investigate London's history through the different windows of London homes. Other ideas have included The Gherkin recreated in origami, a London bus made of 30 children dressed in red and a tiger made entirely from recycled car tyres.

Jeremy Deller, this year's judge and member of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said: 'The chance to come up with an idea for the Fourth Plinth is an invitation to be irresponsible, outrageous and absurd sometimes at the same time. I can’t wait to see what young artists from all over London will come up with.'

This year also sees the start of three year partnership with Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Mark Cass, founder and CEO of Cass Art, said: 'Our mission at Cass Art has always been 'Let's Fill this Town with Artists', so this gave us the perfect opportunity to inspire younger generations to take up art and work in groups to consider how to fill London with art.'

The Mayor’s Fourth Plinth programme is and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme.

Joyce Wilson, Area Director, London, Arts Council England, said: 'The Fourth Plinth Schools Award is a fantastic opportunity for children from across London to showcase their creativity around one of the capital’s iconic displays of public art. Arts and culture are a wonderful source of inspiration for us all and we are delighted to be supporting a programme that increases its reach within schools across London.'

The next two official commissions to appear on the Fourth Plinth will be announced at City Hall on Friday 7 February 2014. www.fourthplinth.co.uk / www.london.gov.uk/imagination 

Notes to editors

Competition terms and conditions 

1. Entry to the competition is only open to children at school in Greater London aged between 5 and 15 on the 1st September 2014. The competition is divided into three age categories: 5 – 7 years, 8 - 11 years and 12 -15 years.

2. Entry to the competition must be made by a teacher on behalf of a child or group of children from the school at which that teacher is employed and the teacher must ensure that they have the necessary parent/guardian authority before making the entries.

3. Entries must be submitted using the official entry form, one form per entry, which is available at www.london.gov.uk/imagination. Any entry not made on the official form will be rejected. The GLA shall not be responsible for late, lost or delayed entries or network computer hardware or software failures of any kind that may delay or restrict entry to the competition.

4. All entries should respond directly to the challenge of designing an artwork inspired by the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

5. The competition runs until 11.59 on 20 March 2014 ("the Closing Date").

6. Entries must be in colour, no larger than 5MB, and submitted as either a digital or scanned photograph, a scan of a 2D artwork, or a digital drawing/painting in jpeg, gif or png format.

7. Entries will be judged on their artistic merits (taking into consideration the age categories) and creative responses to the requirement to design an artwork inspired by the Fourth Plinth. The judge will pick 39 winners, one winner and one runner up in each of the age categories across all of Greater London, and one winning entry per London borough from all the entries in that borough. Winners will be chosen at the sole opinion of the judge. Entries will be anonymous for judging purposes.

8. A total of 10 prizes will be awarded to teachers of the top winning entries and for special awards, as the judge's discretion.

9. All winning entries will be collected from the school, photographed and the photographs displayed on exhibition boards at City Hall for a period of up to six weeks from 1 May 2014.

10. All winners (and their parents and / or teachers) will be invited to a prize giving ceremony on 1st May 2014 at City Hall. This date may be subject to change. Winners will be informed of any alternate date. 11. The artwork of the winners of the competition will not be displayed on the Fourth Plinth itself. Full terms and conditions van be found at http://bit.ly/1icS8Tu. 

The Fourth Plinth Programme The Fourth Plinth Programme is the most talked about contemporary art prize in the UK. Funded by the Mayor of London, the programme invites world class artists to make astonishing new works for the centre of the capital city. An established icon for London, it has been referred to as 'the smallest but most prominent sculpture park in the world'. The programme was initiated in 1998 by the RSA with the support of the Cass Sculpture Foundation. In 1999 responsibility for Trafalgar Square was transferred to the Mayor of London and the Fourth Plinth Programme is now led by the Mayor’s Culture Team, under the guidance of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group (FPCG). Its first commission was Marc Quinn's sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant, unveiled in in September 2005. It was followed by Thomas Schütte’s Model for a Hotel in 2007 and by Antony Gormley’s One & Other in 2009. Yinka Shonibare MBE’s sculpture Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle remained on the plinth until the end of January 2012 and now has a permanent home at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Powerless Structures, Fig 101 by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset was unveiled in 2012 and will be housed permanently at the Arken Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. Katharina Fritsch’s Hahn / Cock is the current commission, unveiled in July 2013. Previous commissions have been Ecce Homo by Mark Wallinger (1999), Regardless of History by Bill Woodrow (2000) and Monument by Rachel Whiteread (2001). Arts Council England has been a significant funding partner of the programme. The next two commissions to appear on the Fourth Plinth will be announced at City Hall on Friday 7 February 2014. 

Cass Art Cass Art is on a mission. Let's Fill this Town with Artists. Underpinned by the company’s long standing manifesto, Cass Art is committed to encouraging everyone to realise their creative talents by providing the world's top quality materials at accessible prices. The first Cass Art store opened in 2001 on Kensington High Street. The Soho store then followed in 2003, Charing Cross in 2004, Islington in 2006 which boasts 7,500 square feet of retail space across three floors, Hampstead in 2010 and Kingston in 2012. Mark Cass’s original art store opened in 1984 at 13 Charing Cross Road. This site has been an art store for over 115 years next to the National gallery. With over ten thousand product lines at Cass Art ranging from paints, drawing materials, craft kits and a large collection of kids activity items, every product is carefully handpicked to inspire the creative spirit and is available both in-store and online. The new Cass Art E-commerce site (www.cassart.co.uk) launched in September 2013 with over 4,000 products available for delivery across UK with a click and collect service in all six stores. It is the only art supplier in the UK to offer Same Evening delivery to London. Cass Art also delivers Next Day across the UK. The website comes as Cass Art looks to launch additional stores across the UK – with the intention to fill this Nation with Artists. 

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2010 and 2015, we will invest £1.9 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1.1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk 

The Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group Jo Baxendale – Arts Council England Iwona Blazwick – Director of Whitechapel Gallery Mick Brundle – Principal, Arup Associates Jeremy Deller – Artist Tamsin Dillon – Head of Art on the Underground Ekow Eshun – Writer, Broadcaster (Chair) Grayson Perry – Artist Matthew Slotover - Co-director, Frieze Jon Snow – Broadcaster Justine Simons – Mayor of London (Director, Fourth Plinth Programme)