A PUBLIC vote to find Merseyside’s best young artists is now open. More than 900 pupils entered this year’s Dot-Art Schools competition and are hoping for your votes to see their artwork on display in a free public exhibition at St George’s Hall later this spring. Almost 1,000 pieces of art from 53 primary and secondary schools across Merseyside were entered in to this year’s competition, making it the largest to date. The online inter-school art contest, which is now in its fourth year, gives both Year 6 and Year 9 pupils across the Liverpool city region the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents and have their work displayed in the exhibition. The judges have narrowed it down to their top three entries from each school ready for the public vote. The artwork with the most votes from each participating school will form part of the two-week exhibition, which opens in May. The shortlisting panel includes representatives from some of Merseyside’s best-known arts and cultural institutions, including Polly Brannan from Liverpool Biennial, Sandra Penketh from National Museums Liverpool and Metal Liverpool’s Jenny Porter. Polly Brannan, education curator at Liverpool Biennial, said: “It is a privilege to be part of the shortlisting panel for Dot-Art Schools this year. The standard of work is outstanding and that made my job extremely difficult. I am so encouraged by the number of talented young artists we have in Liverpool.” Dot-Art Schools project manager Carolyn Murray added: “The competition is designed to celebrate the creative and artistic talents of young people in Merseyside to nurture and develop the next generation of rising stars. “It is a fantastic chance for pupils to showcase their skills and artwork to their parents, family and the wider community in a free public exhibition in one of Britain’s most iconic buildings.” Last year more than 3,000 votes were cast with pupils from Rainhill High School, West Kirby Residential School, Cardinal Heenan Catholic School, St Patrick’s Primary School, Gwladys Street Community Primary School and Springwood Heath Primary awarded prizes. Posters with images of the top three entries from each school will displayed at selected Merseyrail train stations nearest to the schools to encourage people to vote for their favourite. The overall winners will be chosen at a prize-giving ceremony by special guest judge Susan M Coles, a former president of the National Society for Education in Art & Design (NSEAD). Following the exhibition at St George’s Hall, artworks will also be displayed at one of Merseyrail’s city centre train stations. View the shortlist and vote for the work you would like to see on show at St George’s Hall at http://schools.dot-art.com/votenow. Voting will close at midnight on Saturday 30 April.