Walsall has a strong sense of place and social purpose with an expressed commitment to art, community and education programmes. The venue is family friendly with active participation from local schools. The audience figures reflect this, with an estimated attendance of 22,000.
Club Row is a non-gallery venue and the new regular London base for the exhibition. Times to co-incide with Frieze Art Fair, the exhibition attracts a smaller hard-core audience of artists, art professionals and art colleges. Frieze brought an International art market to the show, with many purchases made from International Collectors on the opening night, including a collectors group from the Whtney Museum. The audience figures for Club Row are estimated at 4,000 and reflect a professional art audience and core audience for the show.
Cornerhouse is a loyal venue for New Contemporaries and has regularly presented the show over the last 20 years in its programme. It is an independent space, with a specialist programme of contemporary art and independent film and is a vibrant social space well served by cafes, bars, and active cinema and gallery programmes. The show is well supported by the Cornerhouse audiences and the show always receives a very positive reception. The audience figures are estimated at 12,000, making it one of the most popular exhibitions in their programme. The North West has good access to a number of important Universities and Fine Art Schools in the region, including Manchester, Liverpool, Salford, Preston and further afield to Sheffield, Nottingham, Stoke on Trent.
A total of 1150 applications were received from the national submission draw from over 70 art schools across the UK. From this, over 100 artists were shortlisted and there work brought to Club Row for further deliberation and from this 37 artists were selected. Recent years have seen a framatic shift in the nature of the submissions; from slide and video to digital formats and DVD. In future years it is predicted that the submission process may become entirely digital.