The Jerwood Drawing Prize aims to promote and reward excellence and talent in contemporary drawing practice, through the support and recognition of the work of established and emerging artists in the field of drawing. This open drawing show has been developed as a forum to test, evaluate and disseminate current drawing practice, and to gain knowledge and understanding about the field through the artists currently making work within the discipline.
The Jerwood Drawing Prize project was established in 1994. The co-founders are Anita Taylor and Paul Thomas, who have worked continuously on the project since its origination in the Painting department at Cheltenham & Gloucestershire College of Higher Education, now the University of Gloucestershire. The project relocated to Wimbledon School of Art in 2003 on the appointment of the project director, Professor Anita Taylor, as Head of School of Fine Art, then Vice Principal and Dean, and subsequently the Director of The Centre for the University of the Arts London.
In 2009, Anita Taylor became the Director of the National Art School in Sydney, Australia. She established Drawing Projects UK in April 2009 to develop, organise and promote projects in drawing that contribute to and enhance knowledge and understanding of drawing in the UK. The Jerwood Drawing Prize is a major project organised by Drawing Projects UK. Paul Thomas continues to work on the Jerwood Drawing Prize and other associated projects led and managed by Drawing Projects UK.
The day-to-day administrative support for the Jerwood Drawing Prize project is now provided by Parker Harris, who also organise the Jerwood Sculpture Prize and Jerwood Contemporary Projects, complementary projects within the Jerwood Visual Arts Series. Drawing Projects UK continues to work in collaboration with The Centre for Drawing and Wimbledon College of Art at the University of the Arts London for the selection process of the Jerwood Drawing Prize, and provides professional work experience for their students.
The principal benefactor, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation is dedicated to responsible and imaginative funding of the visual and performing arts and other areas of human endeavour and excellence. It supports, among other things, the Jerwood Artists Platform, Jerwood Commissions at the Wapping Project, Jerwood Bank: The Siobhan Davies Dance Company.
In October 2006, the Jerwood Visual Arts Series was launched at the Frieze Art Fair, and brings together Jerwood Contemporary Painters, Jerwood Sculpture Prize, the Jerwood Photography Prize, Jerwood Applied Arts and the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Each exhibition creates an overview of current debate and practice in each of these fields.