John Robinson (centre) Liverpool jeweller David M Robinson is generously sponsoring the £25,000 first prize in this year's John Moores Painting Prize. It is the largest ever private sector support towards the prestigious competition dubbed ‘the Oscars of the painting world’ by Sir Norman Rosenthal, former Exhibitions Secretary for the Royal Academy. John Robinson, Managing Director of David M Robinson, explains why his company was so keen to support this year's competition which is on now at the Walker Art Gallery until 30 November 2014. "We were delighted to be able to sponsor the John Moores Painting Prize in Liverpool’s Biennial this year. Its status as the UK’s leading prize for painting has grown since its launch in the 1950s, and previous winners like David Hockney have obviously gone on to be highly collectable artists in their own right. David M Robinson window display at its Liverpool ONE showroom The scale of the competition is literally, stunning. John Moores himself had his business in Liverpool and in our home town, it has always been important for us to do the right thing and support the region that we operate in. Being able to use our showroom in Liverpool ONE to highlight the exhibition means that we too can encourage visitors to head up to the exhibition. Our showroom team have all been to see the paintings and I know many of them were impressed by the other elements of The Walker Art Gallery. It shows how proactive retailers can help the wider community through collaboration with the arts in general. The team at The Walker have done a sterling job again and this is all against a backdrop of cuts in the funding to the Museums and galleries in Merseyside and throughout the North West. But to be in the gallery and watch a group of schoolchildren look at the paintings for the first time makes it all worthwhile. David M Robinson sponsor the first prize at the John Moores Painting Prize I personally think the kids in Kensington, Liverpool deserve the chance to see great art as much as the kids in Kensington, London. I don’t think we can put a price on our investment (setting aside the prize money!) but the value in what it generates is immense and to be able to fund it is an honour. Who knows perhaps one of those children will go on to be the next Hockney, Freud or Hirst. That is the chance we have a responsibility to give them. The kick-start it gives to the artists who get their pieces hung is also a welcome boost to our “creative economy”. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in “The Arts”, be it painting, design or architecture, to take a few hours out of their day to visit The Walker and see the exhibition. It is uplifting and lets be honest, there isn’t another city in the UK who wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to have it…. and its right here on our doorstep. The galleries and exhibitions throughout the North West are some of the best in the country, but they need our support." The John Moores Painting Prize runs until 30 November 2014 at the Walker Art Gallery, admission is free. The first prize winner is announced 19 September, and don't forget that you can vote for who you think should win in the the visitors' choice award, announced in November.