A fundraiser thought-up by sisters in Chelsea has received the backing of a government minister and high-profile names in the art world.
Isabella and Natasha Tagliaferri, from St Paul's School, set up the UpStArt project after teaming up with the Anne Frank Trust. It will see art work created by Sixth form students from around London entered into a competition, exhibited and auctioned off with proceeds split between the charity and artists.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has already sung the praises of UpStArt, while some of the UK's leading art aficionados have also thrown their support behind the initiative.
Isabella, 16, and Natasha, 14 came up with the idea after viewing the numerous works of A-level art produced by students at their Brook Green school. They were impressed with what they saw and felt it deserved to be viewed and admired beyond the classroom.
Isabella said: “We also wanted to encourage students to think about charity so this prompted us to develop the concept behind UpStArt and to approach the Anne Frank Trust to turn the idea into a student art charity event."
The project takes the form of a competition aimed at Greater London sixth form or Year 13 students which culminates in an exhibition and auction at the Strand Gallery at the end of the year. With judges including the curators from the Saatchi and Whitechapel art galleries, and representatives of the Fine Art Society and Affordable Art Fair, it offers the young artists valuable exposure to some of the industry's biggest names.
Praising the girls and UpStArt, Mr Vaizey said: "The UpStArt initiative is a brilliant way of celebrating the passionate creativity of young artists. The scheme offers the artists of tomorrow a chance to showcase their abilities to leading figures from the UK art scene, and I encourage all our budding artists to get involved in what promises to be a fantastic competition."
To take part in UpStArt students can enter up to three pieces of art from their existing body of work to www.up-start.co.uk , there is no theme and entry is free.
A shortlist of will be compiled from which judges will chose their favourite. Other prizes will go to the art work which receives the highest bidding at the auction most votes via social media. Prizes will be awarded to the winning artists and their schools.
The Anne Frank Trust uses schoolchildren as ambassadors to combat prejudice and discrimination among all ethnic and social groups.