The 2nd Spectrum Art Award is launched



For Immediate Release



The 2nd Spectrum Art Award is launched



We are delighted to announce that the 2nd Spectrum Art Award is open for submissions from Tuesday, 5th March - 31st May 2019. Rather than an overall ‘winner’, the award will recognise the achievements of 5 selected finalists equally – each winning a cash award of £5,000, together with a bespoke package of support and mentoring and an opportunity to show their work publicly in a dedicated exhibition in the spring of 2020 (TBA).


Established in 2017, the Spectrum Art Award is a unique, critically acclaimed national competition, created to celebrate the creative excellence of artists on the autistic spectrum - providing a vital bridge between the art world and artists with autism. It is open to all UK adults on the autistic spectrum (aged 18 and above) and for work in any medium; from animation to sculpture - as well as the myriad of art forms in between. Submission is free and can be found via the charity website:


Lead again by Chief Curator, Sacha Craddock, selection will be by an expert panel including the celebrated artists, Paul Noble and Chantal Joffe, as well as specialists in the field of autism, Spectrum CEO, Mary Simpson and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. The panel is completed by the 2017, Spectrum finalist, Dawnne McGeachy. Judging will commence during the summer of 2019 - including an opportunity to meet with all the shortlisted artists – and will conclude in the Winter of 2019. An announcement of the 5 selected finalists will be made in January 2020.


Living with 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. An essential aspect of our approach is the continued support and expert, tailored mentoring offered to all our finalists which has helped them to succeed in their individual ambitions and goals.


For 2018 Spectrum Award Winner, Charlotte Amelia Poe, this also meant a new perspective on what it is to be an autistic artist; "the Spectrum Art Prize made me realise how important it is to be an autistic artist. It also helped me to understand that there are people out there who genuinely want to celebrate autistic people and what we are capable of. It feels so vitally important and I feel humbled to have been a part of it."


The first Spectrum Art Award achieved more than we could have hoped for. Culminating with a critically acclaimed exhibtion 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. Mary Simpson, CEO of Spectrum states:


“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 artists with autism to share their unique world view, as well their hopes and perceptions of life”


The Spectrum Art Award is a new and vital platform, making it possible for the incredible work of artists with autism to be brought into public view. Lead Judge and Curator, Sacha Craddock states, ‘Our ambition for The Spectrum Award 2019 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 artists with autism.’



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Celia Bailey |

+44 (o)7930 442 411

+44 (0)208 239 9482






Spectrum is the South West’s leading charity for autism services. It provides residential care for both adults and children, education and domiciliary care services for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person relates to other people and the world around them; while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. 


The Spectrum Art Prize has evolved from the charity's long association with the arts and has been conceived as a platform for artists with autism to have their work exhibited at the same level as any other artist, without barriers or prejudices. 


The Spectrum Award - Judges


Sacha Craddock 

Returning to the Spectrum Art Award as Lead Judge and Curator, Sacha Craddock is an independent curator and critic, who has written for numerous national newspapers including the Guardian and The Times. She co-founded ArtSchool Palestine in Ramallah, which offers a structure and place for the exchange and development of contemporary art, as well as founding the Fellowship in Contemporary Art at British School in Rome. She currently chairs the Bloomberg New Contemporaries, which provides a means for newly graduated fine art students to be exhibited nationwide and has been involved in the selection process since 1996. 



Mary Simpson 

Mary Simpson is the CEO of Spectrum and has worked in the field of autism for over 25 years. Mary has extensive knowledge of all current economic, social and regulatory issues in the care sector and autism. Mary has extensive links within the art world, through Spectrum’s affinity with artistic expression. Mary has been instrumental in the development of local and national art auctions to both raise awareness of autism and fundraise for a dedicated Education and Arts Centre in Cornwall. Mary firmly believes that art can create a powerful and meaningful dialogue to those who feel socially isolated, lonely or different from those around them. Mary is passionate about giving individuals with autism the platform and opportunity to show others their unique world view as well as their interests, hopes and perceptions of life.  


Professor Simon Baron-Cohen 

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen is one of the world's leading experts in understanding autism and related neurological conditions. His books include 'Mindblindness', which in 1995 transformed our understanding of the psychology of autism, through to ‘Zero Degrees of Empathy’ (2011), which gave a new perspective on biological and social factors that determine cruelty and kindness. Professor Baron-Cohen is the Director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge and President of the International Society of Autism Research. 


Chantal Joffe

Is a celebrated British artist who has shown her work to critical acclaim at numerous public exhibitions in the UK and internationally, including the Whitechapel Gallery, London [2018]; Royal Academy of Arts, London [2018, 2017]; National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavík (2016); National Portrait Gallery, London (2015); Jewish Museum, New York (2015); Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (2015). She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and was awarded the Royal Academy Wollaston Prize in 2006. Her recent solo exhibition titled Personal Feeling is the Main Thing at the The Lowry, Salford [2018] presented works from across Joffe's career addressing themes of portraiture, motherhood, passing time and art's relationship to history.  Joffe Lives and works in London.


Dawnne McGeachy

AS one of our 7 finalists for the inaugural Spectrum Art Prize in 2018, McGeachy will bring a unique perspective to her role as judge for the 2nd Art Award. Dawne trained at the Glasgow School of Art, and has received awards including a scholarship to study Fine Art at the University of Ohio, US and in 2013, the Jolomo Bank of Scotland prize for landscape painting. A fascination with the sea, led her to study the science of waves, relaying the forces that create waves through mathematical equations; using the Beaufort Wind Force Scale to create precise paintings that convey the power and brutality of the waves


Paul Noble

Noble’s work has been part of numerous group exhibitions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005), Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2009), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2010); Tate Britain, London (2010); Kunsthalle Münster, Germany (2010–11), Henry Moore Foundation, Perry Green, England (2014); and Marta Herford, Germany (2015). Recent solo museum exhibitions include the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2005); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2005); and Nobson, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2014). Noble lives and works in London.