Spectrum Art Prize – Helping to articulate the unique conditions associated with autism.


We are delighted to announce Spectrum’s competition, The Spectrum Art Prize. This is a new national award which celebrates the exciting work produced by artists on the autistic spectrum. The award is open to all UK adults (aged 18 and above) and we encourage autistic artists to apply, working in any medium, from animation to sculpture and the whole myriad of forms in between – reflecting the creativity, diversity and excellence of artists with autism.

Spectrum has a long tradition working with the visual arts. As an organisation we have always believed that art can pay an invaluable part in creating a profound and lasting dialogue between the individuals we work with, and the outside world. Some of the work that has been produced through our Art Arc project has been of an extremely high calibre. For this reason we feel that the Art Prize will help elevate the abundant wealth of talent that so often goes unrecognised to a national audience.

Our commitment to using art as a therapeutic tool has received significant endorsement through a series of high profile auctions that have featured work form some of the World’s most prestigious contemporary artists including Damien Hirst, Chris Levine, Gerald Laing and Charming Baker. In 2012 The Saatchi Gallery, one of the World’s leading museums for contemporary art, held an auction exclusively for Spectrum’s arts initiatives raising over £75,000. This money is then put into a trust to benefit those in our care, and once more we are looking to raise autism awareness and funds to keep adding to this trust.

In keeping with the prize’s national aspiration, the open submission will be judged by an expert panel lead by curator and art historian Sacha Craddock, as well as Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger (2007), Richard Billingham (nominated 2001) and Charming Baker. We are fortunate to have the advisory support from Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, one of the world’s leading experts in understanding autism and other similar neurological conditions. The selection panel is completed by Mary Simpson, CEO of Spectrum and a passionate advocate for the arts nationally within autism services. The prize will also be supported by Paget PR, one of the country’s leading agencies working specifically in the arts and culture sectors.

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 Prize is an opportunity for artists with autism to share their unique world view, as well their hopes and perceptions of life

Mary Simpson CEO, Spectrum

In the Summer of 2017, a first prize of £10,000 will be awarded to the overall winner, as well as invaluable professional mentoring, curatorial and PR support, with 5 runners-up also receiving an award of £1,000 each.

The aim is to provide both a platform and a professional network for these remarkable artists, enabling them to generate opportunities that might otherwise be closed or difficult to access. Living with autism creates challenges but also a unique perspective on the world and The Spectrum Art Prize will initiate an ongoing legacy to articulate and define their own life experiences.

We would be extremely grateful if you could promote this competition across your various channels of communication. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that The Spectrum Art Prize receives the maximum exposure it deserves and that anyone who feels that they can contribute to the process and celebration will be warmly welcomed.

Further information