2021 is a special year for the Golden Fleece Trust as it marks twenty years since the establishment of the Award through the bequest of its founder, Lillias Mitchell. The mission of the Golden Fleece Award is to provide resources for practising visual, craft and applied artists to innovate and develop their artistic vision, in accordance with Lillias’ intentions as set out in her Letter of Wishes to her Trustees. In this document she states that:
… My wish is to give artists a 'boost' in times of particular need …
Creative practitioners across the island of Ireland have been profoundly impacted by COVID-19. The creative sector is in crisis, and individual artists, makers and craftspeople face exceptional challenges amid increased financial uncertainty. The future of Irish art, craft and design is at stake. This, surely, is a time of "particular need" for many.
In recognition of the exceptionally difficult circumstances being experienced by Irish artists, the Trustees of the Golden Fleece Award have decided to celebrate Lillias Mitchell's legacy by increasing the twentieth anniversary prize fund to €50,000. Up to ten applicants will be shortlisted for the Golden Fleece Award 2021: of these, five will receive an award of €10,000 each.
Speaking about the announcement, Golden Fleece Award Advisory Panel Chair, Angela O'Kelly, said: "Fantastic news that the Trustees have decided to fix the prize fund at €50,000 this year. This is a substantial contribution to art and craft practitioners at this difficult time."
The Golden Fleece Award is the largest prize open to both artists and makers in Ireland. The deadline for the 2021 Award is 5pm on Friday 27 November 2020. Find out more about the eligibility criteria, and apply, here.