The Jerwood Sculpture Prize was launched in 2001 as a major initiative of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation. The aim of this commissioning prize is to give strong support and encouragement to emerging talent within the medium of outdoor sculpture. Since the inaugural Prize the intention has been that the commissioned work be placed at the Jerwood Foundation's Sculpture Park, which is now permanently sited within the grounds of Ragley, Alcester, Warwickshire.
Originally open to artists under the age of 35, the second year of the Prize saw the modification of the entry criteria so that all artists who are within 15 years of graduation from a recognised School of Art are eligible. Also, to help remove anxieties about production and casting costs, the second year saw an increase to the value of the Prize, rising from £20,000 to £25,000.
Since the start, it has evolved that the commission is offered approximately every eighteen months, as each Prize Year sees the full completion of the commission before the next Prize is launched. The first Jerwood Sculpture Prize commission was awarded in 2001 to Benedict Carpenter for his large bronze work, Universal Object; the second was awarded to Gereon Krebber in 2003 for his aluminium sculpture entitled Tin, and the third commission was awarded to Judith Dean in 2005 for her site inspired bronze piece, Field.
Since its launch in 2001, the Jerwood Sculpture Prize has built a strong reputation for quality and innovation, and both the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Jerwood Sculpture Park have been delighted by the success of the first three commissions. Now in its fourth year high expectations and enthusiasm are anticipated for the next commission.