Winner of Rugby Open People's Choice Award revealed

THE winner of the Rugby Open exhibition's People's Choice Award has been announced.
Velesa Sultanova has been crowned the winner of the People's Choice Award at Rugby Open 23 for her drawing, Sparrows.
16 January 2024
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Visitors to Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's latest exhibition were invited to vote for a favourite piece, with the winning artist walking away with the People's Choice Award and a £100 prize.

And with just three votes separating the top three, it was artist Vesela Sultanova who topped the poll with her drawing, Sparrows.

The Coventry-based artist, who works under the moniker VesA, was widely praised for her dramatic drawing of sparrows in flight, with one visitor commenting "you can hear the chattering of the sparrows," and another stating: "I love the dynamic, the charge and togetherness of the flock." 

The annual Rugby Open exhibition invites artists from Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Coventry to submit contemporary art works from across the arts, from paintings and prints to textiles and ceramics.

Judges for Rugby Open 23 selected 240 pieces for the exhibition, which opened in November and runs until Saturday 3 February.

Katie Boyce, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum's senior exhibitions and programming officer, said: "We're delighted to crown Vesela's beautiful drawing as the People's Choice in what was one of the most closely contested votes in the Open's history.

"It's a subtle, vibrant work which has really captured the imaginations of visitors to the exhibition, making Vesela a very worthy winner."

For more information about exhibitions and events at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, visit