News from ASHER


Painting – A Woodland Waterway Birdwatch

Sculpture – Back in Time

Matchstick Model – Sitting Donkey

Koestler Awards supported by ASHER

“Being creative has given me a new lease of life. I can share my thoughts and feelings through colour. I no longer feel suppressed or confined. Art has shaped a stronger version of me.”

Koestler Arts is the UK’s best known prison arts charity aiming to encourage people in the criminal justice system to change their lives by participating in the arts. ASHER annually donates money to fund prizes so that prisoners know that there is an outside group that wants to see them thrive and cultivate a creative life through their art. Three prizes were awarded in 2023.

A Woodland Waterway Birdwatch and Back in Time were made by an artist at HM Prison Humber, a men’s prison near Hull. This artist has been entering the Koestler Awards since 2018, and in that time has entered and won a handful of awards in a variety of categories - Sculpture, Painting and Mixed Media, a huge achievement.

Sitting Donkey was created by someone fairly new to the Koestler Awards, first entering in 2022 with another Matchstick Model. This piece impressed our judges, with the clever shaping of the body and the donkey’s cheeky expression!

Your support has helped recognise the talent and ingenuity of people finding their voice and confidence through creativity and the Koestler Awards. These artists will receive bespoke certificates confirming that they’ve won the 2023 Arts Society Hull & East Riding Award and personalised feedback from our Koestler Awards judges and feedback volunteers.

Ferens Open

Ferens Open Young Artists Prizes supported by ASHER

In 2023 it was decided to rebrand the Junior Open Exhibition as Young Artists, in order to encourage a wider age group to exhibit their work.  It has been a resounding success, with a record-breaking 600 entrants – doubling the average number over previous years. The art was displayed to full advantage in Gallery Four and with its striking new logo, the effect was tremendously colourful and exuberant.

The presentation was a most enjoyable occasion.  ASHER’s support is part of a collaborative initiative in partnership with the Ferens Art Gallery, the Friends of the Ferens, and this year, Heritage Learning.  We have encouraged this celebration of emerging talent for some years now, sponsoring, selecting and presenting awards to students up to the age of fifteen across Hull and the wider area.


Mary Glen

Mary Glen Memorial

The National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies was set up in 1968 and our own society was the ninth to be formed that year. Maybe this explains our wide-ranging name – Hull and East Riding – as in 1968 there were no other NADFAS societies in the region. Now there are many with Beverley, Driffield, Scarborough and York being the nearest.
Mary Glen was our founder chairman (as the position was then called) from 1968 – 1970 and then she became our first president from 1970 – 1973; she was on the committee for a total of 25 years and was made the first honorary member of the society in 1993.
Mary Glen was a generous benefactor giving the society many gifts including the silver chain and badge of office now worn by the president.
On her death in 2007 her family set up a trust fund to finance an annual memorial lecture to be given in her name.