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Learning disability artists grace Shire Hall

Warwickshire County Council welcomed a group of inspiring artists to Shire Hall prior to cabinet today as part of Learning Disability Awareness Week (June 15-21).

Mencap ACE (Arts and Crafts Extraordinaire) Arts Group were congratulated by the leader of the council, Cllr Alan Farnell on the display of paintings which had recently gained awards and praise alike in the Nuneaton Festival of Arts.
The group submitted eight paintings with Sarah Cousins’ ‘Ripened by the Sun’ coming first in her category of still life.  Nigel Smith’s ‘Star Wars - Lost in Space’ received a merit in the fantasy category and the works of Julie Benham, Sara Baxter, Geoff Mansell, David Connolly, Clifford Steele, Marion Willden and Jenny Measures were all displayed.
The group was set up with a grant from National Mencap, and is run by volunteers lead by Susan Steele who said:  "The paintings were all submitted without organisers knowing of the background of the artists and the praise and awards they have garnered is on merit alone.  No dispensation was made for our artists and nor was it asked for.  We are all delighted that our work is receiving such a high level of praise and recognition."
Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Alan Farnell, expressed his delight and admiration, on behalf of the county council.  He said:  "I don’t profess to be an art critic but even I could tell that the standard of art on display was of an extremely high standard.
"Given the disabilities that the artists face, the work was remarkable and my colleagues have joined me in remarking upon how inspiring it was for us to see the art and have the opportunity to meet the very talented group behind it."
Nuneaton ACE meets at Chetwynd House every Wednesday and welcomes new members with learning disabilities and carers who might well enjoy a relaxing afternoon being artistic.  For further details contact Gill Smith on 02476 342447.

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Media contact:  Richard Harkin 01926 414162

Picture shows Nigel and Sarah with their paintings and Cllr Alan Farnell, leader of Warwickshire County Council