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painting of a dancer by Brenda Cook

Dancer by Brenda Cook

For the third year running art + power have launched The Paddy Masefield Award for outstanding communication through art. Open only to people with learning difficulties, resident in the South West Region and aged 18 or over, it is the only award of its kind in Europe.

The Award was set up in 2002 to celebrate both the inspiration of art + power's disability-led way of working as well as the life of Paddy Masefield OBE, a nationally acclaimed writer, theatre director and campaigner for disability rights, who had then been given 6 months to live with terminal cancer. Happily both Paddy and art + power have gone from strength to strength!

Funded by Arts Council England South West, EQUATA (, art + power and Caroline Masefield, it offers not only a £1,000 prize but also follow-up support and advice for the winner during 2006.

The Closing Date for 2005 entries is 29 October. The presentation will be made on 3 December by Sir Christopher Frayling who is the national Chair of Arts Council England and Rector of the Royal College of Arts, and is being held at Bristol's Arnolfini Gallery (

Paddy Masefield says: If you put the wrong end of a telescope to your eye you can see this simply as a small regional affair. Whereas if you look through the right end you can see the bigger picture - a major Arts Award, unique to Europe, celebrating the talents, vision and images of people with learning difficulties who are among the most disregarded and disrespected people in this country. Created in the South West but celebrated internationally. That is why The Award goes to the artist who best uses visual art to change people's attitudes towards disabled people.

The organisation and judging of The Award is also uniquely led by people with learning difficulties at art + power, itself a nationally acclaimed organisation whose work is well known on television and in galleries in the South West.

Last year's winner Brenda Cook, aged 69 of Bristol said of her picture Strength - My art is about my life. It'll make other people think and move away from the bad things, how people look down on you when you're disabled. My art shows people what I'm made of. Hopefully they'll go away and think differently. Just to underline their inspiration, both Brenda's and Lyn Martin's paintings have also been selected to appear in Paddy Masefield's new book, Strength: Broadsides from Disability on the Arts due to be published early in 2006.

Last year the number of entries was doubled and the organisers are appealing to all members of the press, media and public to make this Award known to individuals with learning difficulties in their area.

For further information on how to enter The Award, or for copies of the Application Forms please contact art + power at:

Telephone: 0117 908 9859
web: art + power