It is believed that art related activities can be instrumental in supporting people with autism to live full and productive lives and holds the key to liberating locked in lives. We believe that art helps people with autism gain a better understanding of “our world”, whilst providing insight into theirs. We believe Spectrum’s art project will have a significant and positive impact on these people’s lives, confidence, self-assuredness and general wellbeing.
Spectrum’s workshops have seen some remarkable results, both artistically and in improved motor skills, relationships, attention spans and imagination. The sensory input (and output) from art may be on an altogether different level of experience for a person with autism. We want to learn more about the ways in which art and autism combine to promote wellbeing and accomplishment.
This year, the workshops were taken over by Mark Bevan, a local artist who also works for Spectrum as a support worker. Spectrum’s plans for the future have now outgrown the Art Ark, and the decision has been made to move on and develop the workshops on dry land. He moved from London to Newquay which he describes as a ‘sleepy village’.
Of himself and his work he says: “My inspirations are life and my universe. I see shapes, colours and people that have something that helps the light in me come out. I store these images until they form a picture in my head and then create a painting from these images”.
Mark’s aim with Spectrum is to create a space where people with autism feel comfortable to express themselves. He has been surprised at the level of art they have produced. He has found the process to be really rewarding and a great deal of fun. “Art is often looked at too seriously – in a comfortable environment, they produce some really amazing work.”
Exhibitions: Arts and Crafts 2004-2006 (Group Gallery; Open Group Exhibition 2007 (The Learning Centre, Newquay); Haze Group Exhibition 2011 (The Brick Lane Gallery, London). www.mjbev.darkfolio.com mbev.deviantart.com
The first artist to take up residence was Lucy McLauchlan from Birmingham who spent a few summer weeks on the barge. She is part of the Beat13! Collective, and is a featured artist on eBay. lucy.beat13.co.uk/blog
Stella Vine also spent some time with us and both she and Lucy very generously donated more of their work for our auction in 2009. The Financial Times said that ‘Vine's scrutiny of the cult of celebrity as contemporary fairy tale was descended from the same tradition as Andy Warhol and Hans Christian Andersen’. www.stellavine.com