image for Harbourside Arts Centre opens adding a vibrant creative new destination to Bristol's Harbourside Mile

Harbourside Arts Centre opens adding a vibrant creative new destination to Bristol's Harbourside Mile

Published on Monday, 30th June 2014

The new 'Harbourside Arts Centre', off Bristol's Millennium Square is now open and will be home to major art and photographic events this summer

The new 'Harbourside Arts Centre', off Bristol's Millennium Square, was officially opened last night by Bristol Mayor George Ferguson.  The large contemporary venue adds a vibrant and creative new destination to this increasingly attractive Harbourside area.

Currently displaying contemporary paintings of Bristol and Bath, bronze sculptures and an exhibition of some of the award-winning photographs from last year's '24 Hours in Bristol' photographic competition, the Harbourside Arts Centre will also be home to major art and photographic events this summer.

Mayor George Ferguson welcomed guests at the launch of the Harbourside Arts Centre and spoke to the enthusiastic crowd of photographers, painters and Bristol businesses about the importance of supporting the city's creative ventures, such as the '24 Hours in Bristol' photographic competition, which last year resulted in over 10,000 images of Bristol being taken in a single 24 hour period.  He said " “It’s great to see the 24 Hours in Bristol photographic competition back for 2014. I was bowled over with the results of the first event last year.  It's a highly creative initiative which is building up a tremendous photo-bank of stunning and curious Bristol images. I never go anywhere without my camera so I may even send in a few of my own shots this time”. 

24 Hours in Bristol 2014

The unique '24 Hours in Bristol 2014' competition, which will be based at the Harbourside Arts Centre, is open to anyone with a smart phone or camera to record a day in the life of the city.  Hundreds of photographers from across Britain and beyond are expected to descend on Bristol for competition day over the August Bank Holiday weekend, including photographers from Bristol's twinned city of Oporto in Portugal. 

The competition will take place from noon on Saturday 23rd August to noon on Sunday 24th August and in an interesting twist, photographers are randomly allocated an hour of the day in which they must take at least one entry photograph, plus as many as they like from other hours.  Last year one keen photographer scoured the city for the full 24 hours looking for award-winning images and hundreds of photographers discovered areas of Bristol they had never seen before.  Thousands of stunning and often surprising scenes around the city were captured by the competition photographers, a selection of which are currently on display at the Harbourside Arts Centre.

There are some excellent prizes, with a first prize of £3,000, including a top of the range Olympus camera, a second prize of £1,000, sponsored by Spire The Glen Hospital Bristol, and third prize of £500, sponsored by City Sightseeing Bristol.  City Sightseeing manager Nichola Padden said '24 Hours In Bristol is such a refreshing and exciting competition; the resulting images highlight what is so fascinating about Bristol and the multiple camera lenses provide wonderful insights into this city.’

There are also prizes for the best photographs taken in each hour of the competition, sponsored by a number of West Country companies including Clifton Cameras, the Royal Photographic Society, Fotospeed, PS Photography and Barclays Bank, with weekend breaks at the Thistle Grand, The Bristol Hotel and Radisson Blu also on offer.  An exhibition of 100 of the award winning photographs will be held at the Harbourside Arts Centre from 11th October.

Overall event sponsors include Bristol City Council, Canada Life Investments and The Osborne Group and a number of prizes are still available for Bristol companies to sponsor.  If you would like to sponsor a prize (sponsorship of best photographs taken in each hour of the comopetition is £350) please email or phone 07720 880088 for details. 

A launch and live registration event will be taking place on the evening of Friday 11th July for those who entered the competition in 2013 and anyone interested in taking part this year.   It will be a fun and inspiring evening with free seminars, photographic workshops and tips from some of the judges, including the Director General of the Royal Photographic Society, on the qualities they are looking for in a prize-winning photograph.  If you would like to enter the competition and attend the launch please email for further details.  Places are limited so do get in touch as soon as possible.

For background information about the event, please see the website at  Please note that the new website for 2014 is due to go live on Saturday 12th July.

The Harbourside Art Prize - launch of major new painting competition

The Harbourside Arts Centre will also be the base for a major new art competition. The  'Steak of the Art Harbourside Art Prize' invites amateur and professional artists from across the UK to bring their talents to Bristol and to paint scenes around the stunning Harbourside area over the course of the summer. 

The national painting competition has been sponsored by the 'Steak of the Art' restaurant, a creatively themed Harbourside restaurant and art gallery, where even the colourful chairs and artistically designed tables are for sale.  Steak of the Art owner Steve Bowen, said "As passionate supporters of art, we couldn't resist the opportunity of sponsoring the Harbourside Art Prize, which is an open competition for anyone who loves painting to capture stunning scenes of Bristol's Harbourside over the next  four months, the best of which will be exhibited at the Harbourside Arts Centre this November, with a prize of £3,000 for the winning artist! 

"We feel Harbourside has reached a tipping point in popularity with the recent opening of Steak of the Art, InPlay Golf, The Cuban, Jongleurs, The Triathlon Shop and now the Harbourside Arts Centre.  We now have a Harbourside East and West, which represents an eclectic mix of business, hospitality and entertainment, which can only go from strength to strength as the summer emerges and we are very pleased to be part of this exciting Bristol destination."

Further prizes are available for sponsorship, with sponsor benefits including use of the stunning Harbourside Arts Centre for private views and events.  Please email for further details.

Michael Porter, managing director of 'Art Ventures Ltd', the company behind the 'Harbourside Arts Centre' and the '24 Hours in Bristol' and 'Harbourside Art Prize' competitions, has been delighted with the initial response. “Photographers and painters have welcomed the plans for 2014 and we are delighted and encouraged to have the support of the Mayor and his colleagues, and also from the local companies that have agreed to sponsor prizes. Quite apart from the cash prizes these are competitions in which everybody wins, either from taking part or simply enjoying the fantastic range of work produced.”