About

People

Mary Simpson

Mary Simpson

Director

I am the CEO of an autism charity, Spectrum, based in the South West of England, working I have worked in the field of autism for over 30 years and I actively campaign for autistic people’s rights. Many of the individuals I have worked with over the years have been marginalised by society but by giving the right support they have been able to achieve their goals and aspirations.

During my work at Spectrum, art has been at the heart of supporting autistic individuals to find their voice and the charity has a great affinity with the art world. Out of this passion for art, the Spectrum Art Award was born in order to support marginalised artists to showcase their excellent talent. This is something I am immensely proud of as it creates on on-going legacy of autistic artists work.

What I am hoping to be able to offer you is both practical and emotional support for you to achieve your goals and aspirations, I work with all artists who feel this support would benefit them.

I look forward to working with you.

Sacha Craddock

Sacha Craddock

Director

Invited to work with Spectrum, I spent a good deal of time in discussion with Mary Simpson, and others, about how best to celebrate the relationship between Art and Autism. As a critic and curator with decades of experience in education, critical writing and curating; as the founder of many educational and curatorial awards and initiatives, I have a fervent desire to defend the making of good art without ever stipulating who it is for and what it might say.

It took three years to create the award with its sensible and democratic process. We wanted to encourage good people to apply, and yet discourage no-one. Aware that self-confidence is not necessary a guarantee of ability, this is particularly clear with artists who are autistic. We know that the work itself has to speak out, and that the award, selected by excellent artists, also provides the public with some of the most current and gripping work by artists with autism.

Over the years that I have worked with Mary I have learnt so much about the various, varied, range of experiences of people with Autism. There are no fixed rules. I am Used to supporting artists at all levels of experience, education, and age and see the AAA as a natural step.