Culture Technology

Sky Arts live streams Portrait Artist of the Year, makes content free online

Sky Arts has launched a weekly live stream version of its popular Portrait Artist of the Year show, dubbed Portrait Artist of the Week. The channel is also releasing a raft of arts content free in the UK. The idea is to provide a ‘cultural fix’ for locked down Brits.

Over four weeks, #PAOTY is being live streamed on the Sky TV Facebook page. This new version of the format will feature celebrity sitters posing live in their own homes, with audiences invited to paint along at home. First to pose was dancer and choreographer Akram Khan.

Choreographer Akram Khan strikes a pose

Regular presenter Joan Bakewell is hosting the live show, with members of the public invited to post questions as they splash the canvas. The public can submit their final paintings via Instagram (@artistoftheyear) with the show’s judges, Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano, and Kate Bryan, picking their favourites.

Previous series winners will take it in turns to paint live and help viewers at home participate. Each episode will be available to watch online throughout the week so more people can participate, and a highlights programme will be shown on Sky Arts.

The Sky Arts channel has reported an increase of 55 per cent in viewing since lockdown began…

Sky Arts has reported an increase of 55 per cent in viewing since lockdown began, and in recognition of this new demand, Sky Arts content is being made available to audiences to stream for free on the Sky TV YouTube channel.

This new weekly package includes performances, concerts and documentaries from the channel’s extensive back catalogue. Highlights will include episodes of Celebrity Portrait Artist of the Year, episodes from documentary series Treasures of the British Library, the story of a destroyed portrait of Churchill from Mystery of the Lost Paintings, and live concerts from Queen, The Bee Gees, Shania Twain and Take That.

“Our mission at Sky Arts is to make the arts more accessible, support practitioners, and get more people participating and making stuff,” says Sky Arts director Philip Edgar-Jones.

“So with Portrait Artist of the Week and our new free YouTube collection we’re hoping to get people joining in whether it’s painting a portrait, immersing yourself in a journey into an artist’s life, or enjoying a classic rock concert in your living room. Right now, we need a fix of culture more than ever and this is just the tonic.”

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About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice, Ideal Home, The Luxe Review, Channel News and the i newspaper. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI, and contributor to industry trade magazine ERT. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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