The winners of the national art competition, Create! Art for Autism 2012, have been unveiled at an awards ceremony at Beechwood College, near Cardiff.
More than 550 entries were received for this year’s competition, across the four categories – 2D Art, 3D Art, Digital Art and Poetry. The judging panel, which was led by British actress Jane Asher and television and radio presenter Gaby Roslin, selected the winners and the highly commended artists for each category and presented them with their awards.
Now in its second year, the competition is open to all young people aged 11-25 years that have formally been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Condition. It aims to dispel the myth that young people with autism cannot be creative and shows how art can significantly improve their quality of life.
The fifth category – the People’s Choice – was open for votes from the public in partnership with the Times Educational Supplement and received a total of 1,040 votes.
Beechwood College, one of the UK’s leading specialist residential colleges for students with ASC, launched this year’s competition in March at a Parliamentary reception. Following Friday’s awards ceremony, the finalists’ artwork will be rolled out into a national art tour across four major UK cities: Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham and London.
Darren Jackson, Principal of Beechwood College, commented:
“Building on the major success of last year’s inaugural competition, this year’s Create! Art for Autism has seen entries almost double and the inclusion of a new and exciting category – poetry. We have been hugely impressed by the calibre of this year’s entries and we look forward to seeing the competition continue to grow year on year, giving young people with autism the creative spotlight they deserve.”
Jane Asher, British actress and judge, commented:
“As we all know, one of the joys of art is that through it, people can express feelings and ideas that can never be put into words.
“The winning works in this exciting and important competition are excellent in their own right interms of their visual and technical achievement. They also underline once again just how much imagination, creativity and feeling exists in the hearts and minds of those with autism, however much this complex condition may limit the verbal and facial expression of such emotions.”
The judging panel included:
· Jane Asher, British actress
· Gaby Roslin, television presenter
· Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society
· Alun Cairns MP
· Michael Shaw, Times Educational Supplement
· Darren Jackson, Principal of Ludlow Orbis Education
· Lucinda Bredin, Editor of Bonhams Magazine
· Hugh Morgan, Chief Executive of Autism Cymru
· Brendan Burns, twice winner of the National Eisteddfod Gold Medal in Fine Art and Lecturer at The University of Glamorgan
Based just outside Cardiff, Beechwood College prides itself on delivering 24-hour personalised Further Education programmes to each of its students and creativity is a key component of the curriculum. Beechwood College is a centre of excellence and an example of how services should be provided to young people with an autistic spectrum condition, to meet their unique needs.