Recently I reviewed Access All Areas, a book exploring the phenomenon of live Disability Art. This week I attended the launch event for a series of short films also focusing on disabled artists. Shape Creatives is a series of seven films highlighting the cream of talent within the Disability Arts scene. Funded by the Arts Council and the Lottery Fund through the arts charity Shape Arts it captures a moment at which I feel Disabled Art is about to break through into the mainstream. Shape Arts CEO Tony Heaton OBE (pictured with me below), himself a well known sculptor, has guided the charity towards having two distinct areas of expertise. They strive to ensure that disabled people can experience the arts by running a series of schemes allowing disabled art lovers to access art, including providing someone to accompany solo disabled people to exhibitions and shows and audio descriptions of art works and events. The Shape Creatives films capture the other area of Shape's work, their support of disabled artists.
The films are the work of David Hevey. Hevey (also pictured below) has had a long running relationship with disability, having worked for the BBC's Disability Programmes Unit as a producer/director and being the creative talent behind the ground breaking documentary series Disabled Century, that explored the modern history of disabled people. He explained at the launch that he wanted the Shape Creatives films to be accessible, both because they have audio description and subtitles and as they were designed to give a real access to the methodology and personality of each of the artists involved.
The films continue David Hevey's trademark style that made him one of the leading documentary makers of a generation, mixing art with a drive to get into the mind of his subjects. Each film has a subtly different look and feel while hanging together with the rest of the project. Hevey is rightly proud of these films and hopes that the artists involved will use them as a calling card to highlight their individual artistic endeavours. I am sure they will.
What I do know is that the Shape Creatives film project continues to prove that the Disability Arts Scene is an exciting challenging one that any art fans out there keen to find the next big thing should begin taking notice of today. That is if they haven't already. With Shape just being awarded £1.5 million to fund future works by disabled artists it seems that the art establishment has also woken up to the huge pool of untapped talent that currently makes up the thriving Disability Arts Scene, allowing them to push their art to bigger and better things. Oh yes, amazing things are on the horizon for Disabled Artists!
To find out more about the Disabled Artists supported by Shape visit Shape Artists
If you are a Disabled Artist and want to find out about the funding available through the Unlimited Scheme visit We Are Unlimited