The Spectrum Art Award is a unique celebration of the creative excellence of autistic artists - providing a vital bridge between the art world and these artists. It is open to all UK autistic adults (aged 18 and above) and for work in any medium; from animation to sculpture - as well as the myriad of art forms in between.
The Award was established in 2017 to create a platform and a professional network for autistic artists to enable them to access opportunities that might otherwise be closed or difficult to access.
Autism creates challenges but also a unique perspective on the world. The Award recognises this; providing a public platform for creative individuals on the spectrum to articulate and define their life experiences - and an opportunity for them to reach their full potential.
The first Spectrum Art Award achieved more than we could have hoped for. Culminating with a critically acclaimed exhibition in 2018 at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery, London, it generated coverage including T.V, national press and specialist art journals, reaching a global audience in excess of 374 million.
The Award created a remarkable launch-pad to support the ambitions of the seven short-listed artists. In keeping with the original aims and objectives, we have continued to support and advise all of them; helping them with expert and tailored support to succeed in their individual ambitions and goals.
“I believe that art can create a powerful and meaningful dialogue to those who feel socially isolated, lonely or different from those around them. The Spectrum Art Award is an opportunity for autistic artists to share their unique world view, as well their hopes and perceptions of life”
Mary Simpson CEO, Spectrum
The selection of the national open submission will once again chaired by the acclaimed curator and critic Sacha Craddock.
‘An exhibition that emerges out of selection from open submission is precious, because it fights the unspoken sense that all 'experts' agree on what constitutes quality. The open exhibition allows an element of surprise, discovery and newness to sneak through. It gives artists a greater level of opportunity and the chance for diverse work to be seen equally.’
The Spectrum Art Award 2022
Our ambition for The Spectrum Award 2022 is to discover and recognise the fantastic work done across the UK by so many creative individuals. We are thrilled that the Award will, once again, reflect the creativity, diversity and excellence of autistic artists.
Selection will be by a panel of celebrated artists and experts in the summer of 2021 and will be followed by visits to the shortlisted artists during the autumn and winter of 2021. A public announcement of the five selected finalists will be made in the winter of 2021.
The five finalists will each win a cash award of £5,000 and an opportunity to have their work exhibited and advanced in its most suitable form. All five will also receive invaluable professional mentoring, curatorial and PR support.
The selection, which shadows the creative process itself, combines knowledge, risk, concentration and vision. We are delighted that for the 2022 award, critically acclaimed artists and photographers Larry Achiampong, Alison Wilding and John Hooper will be joining us on the judging panel along with Spectrum Art Award finalist 2020, Janice Hughes.