Our judges update

Advocacy and Mentorship

The Spectrum Art Prize is a unique platform for artists as it advocates for individuals with autism to have their work exhibited at the same level as any other artist, without barriers or prejudices.

“I am delighted that The Spectrum Art Prize is in line with our core philosophy, to raise awareness of the condition of autism. It also underlines our commitment to using art as a valuable means of communication for people living with autism. Additionally, I would like to extend my profound gratitude to our esteemed panel of judges who have generously given their time and support to realise this outstanding project.” – Mary Simpson, CEO of Spectrum ASD

Spectrum believes that the best people to advocate for those with autism, are those who have the condition themselves. The Spectrum Art Prize will provide a platform for autistic artists to speak about the difficulties they face and how their autism impacts upon their lives and their families. It will offer a rare insight into their perception of the world around them, their hopes and fears, and enable them to represent their condition through art.

“It has been an intricate and sensitive process… The work submitted is excellent, truly moving and powerful. It is clever and the artists approaches are both subtle and direct.” – Sacha Craddock, Curator 

As well as raising the profile of autism, Spectrum want to leave a lasting legacy for these individuals, so that they are not defined by their condition or diagnosis, but are recognised as artists who can stand on a par with the rest of the art world, defined instead by a sense of empowerment, entitlement and self-worth. 

“The Spectrum Art Prize will create an ongoing legacy that will articulate and define issues relating to living with autism.” – Mary Simpson, CEO of Spectrum ASD

The creation of an advocacy and mentoring programme for the shortlisted artists will ensure that each individual is partnered with an influential mentor matched to their specific style. The mentor will help each individual to understand how they can contribute to contemporary practice, whilst nurturing and developing their work. The mentor will help identify future exhibitions and gallery spaces, and how to promote themselves in the art world.

“On average, only 1 out of 4 individuals with autism are female. Females often go under radar for diagnosis as they can be better at hiding or masking their vulnerabilities and needs. Yet over half the finalists are female.” – Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Judges Update