TWO local artists have been successfully shortlisted in an international open art competition organised by Wells Art Contemporary (WAC).

A distinguished panel selected just 96 pieces of work from over 1,800 entries from around the world for an exclusive exhibition which will be held at Wells Cathedral from July 20 until to August 11.

Olivia Sanders from Stoke St Gregory was delighted that her woodcut Heron made the selection.

Catching the moment when a hunting heron’s beak penetrates the water’s surface, the striking piece is printed off a slab of cedar from an ancient, lightening-struck tree in South Somerset.

This is The West Country:

Meanwhile, for artist Philip Davies who lives near Wiveliscombe, this was his first year entering WAC having been persuaded by friends to do so.

He has had two figurative paintings selected from a series of work - Girls with Balls and Le Gilet Jaune.

The free exhibition will take place during the summer period when Wells is at its busiest meaning that over 20,000 visitors to the Cathedral will have the opportunity to see Olivia and Philip’s pieces.

Rapidly becoming one of the UK’s major contemporary art competitions, this is WAC’s 7th year, although it is the first year that WAC and Wells Cathedral have worked together.

Paddy O’Hagan, Chair of WAC, said: “It feels a natural collaboration. For centuries, cathedrals have been inextricably connected to art, beit stonemasonry, glass work, music or the architecture itself.”

The Very Revd Dr John Davies, the Dean of Wells, said: “We are delighted to hear that there were so many entries to this year’s exhibition and are looking forward to seeing the art in situ here in the magnificent surroundings of Wells Cathedral.

“Our partnership with WAC is a great example of how the Cathedral can be an integral part of local community activity yet inspire international collaboration.”

The exhibition runs until August 11 at Wells Cathedral. For further information, visit www.wellsartcontemporary.co.uk