Disability Arts in Shropshire (DASH) is a Disabled led visual arts charity. It creates opportunities for Disabled artists to develop their creative practice. These opportunities take many forms, from high quality commissions to community based workshops.
With a history of work including visual arts, dance, theatre, live arts and festivals in Shropshire since the mid 1990's, DASH became a limited company and registered charity in 2001. In 2009 DASH took the decision to specialise its work in visual arts, while expanding its geographical boundaries.
During the last ten years DASH has undertaken truly ground-breaking work – projects that have challenged perceptions, fostered and mentored new Deaf and Disabled artists, encouraged professional development and helped to engineer change in the arts sector.
DASH support during the pandemic
It was clear from day one of lockdown that DASH needed to take a practical role in the Covid crisis. At times it seemed that there were few other organisations operating or those that were had most of their staff furloughed.
This left a void. We could see this would have a massive impact on disabled artists (most of whom were shielding and in some financial difficulty). We immediately offered mentoring and support with funding bids.
We all found ourselves in such a rapidly changing environment back in March when lockdown started. It was apparent to funders like Arts Council England that there was a need to get funds to individual artists as quickly as possible. However, poor access and very short application deadlines discriminated against many Disabled artists, making our bid writing support essential.
The support we are offering is invaluable at this time and we expect that one key outcome will be a strong body of well-resourced and connected Disabled artists.
The Artists of tomorrow
DASH are supporting our Young Disabled artists through digital communications and art supplies and training, including a twelve-week introduction to art history course, called Art Influencers, with ten young (18-30) Disabled artists based across the UK and Australia. Our aim is to use the learning from this course to create an extended online course in 2021. Our 'Free Medicine' programme gave a group of Young Disabled Artists from Shropshire training, mentoring and increased their confidence and well being. Their work is being used by Shropshire Council on the local offer section of the website. These young artists will be the celebrated artists of the future and it is vital we support their journeys now.
Quotes from the artists we work with
"The support from DASH over the years has been invaluable, it's helped me develop as an artist and given me the confidence to apply for opportunities, these have included, residencies, grant applications, exhibitions, Scholarships and jobs."
“DASH’s approach to personalised mentoring has created a tailormade service allowing me to express myself creatively and professionally”
“DASH have boosted my confidence and I now claim the title of ‘artist’.”
“Having a clear path has made my design and creating process easier. For the first time in ages, I am not second guessing myself, I am just creating."
“I have found DASH to be so valuable for me. The barriers I face as a dyslexic artist are bridged with the support of my mentor. He is able to detect and ask what my specific needs are. I am given motivation and bite size tasks to work on.”
“DASH has enabled me to engage with a support network that recognises my strengths and weaknesses. I am always left inspired that I’m on my path.”
What your support would mean to us
The pandemic has thrown us in at the deep end in terms of supporting our artists, with funding we can provide more and better support.
£5 covers print and postage costs for two funding guides
£25 enables us to put together a pack of art materials for one young artist
£100 provides four hours of mentoring support
£300 enables us to bring in freelance staff and provide more support to more people
and more projects like these...
Nearly all of our rewards have been kindly donated by the artists we work with.
£5 Postcards - A massive thank you postcard! (Actual size A5) Choose from: Juan delGado - Transformers, Anna Berry - Leaf Cuts, gobscure - think tree think free, Georgia Murphy - 2 metres or Mat Fraser by David Hevey (from David Hevey’s The Disabled Century series (BBC))
£10 - Badges - Feel inspired every day with these artistic badges. Choose from: Anna Berry Leaf Cuts, Richard Downes - Jaundiced Jean in Yellow Peril, Nancy Willis - Dream Horse
£20 - Tote bags - made from 100% cotton, you can carry your favourite art everywhere!
Choose from: Tanya Raabe-Webber - Love in a Connection, Juan delGado - Transformers, Diana Terry - Silver Crest
Nancy Willis - Dancer, Richard Downes - Jaundiced Jean in Yellow Peril, Nancy Willis - Friends
£20 - The Incorrigibles - published in 2016 this full colour hardback book showcases the work of fourteen Disabled artists
The stories and artwork in this book unite the artists and demonstrate the strong vibrant genre that is progressive and inspirational to an emerging Disability Arts landscape. We are indebted to all the artists who responded with such openness, honesty and generosity of spirit.
This book is not just about Disability Arts and culture, it is a book about artists being artists, it is about a celebration of difference, it is about the will to survive as artists, it is about humanity, it is about the fact that art unites us all as human beings and that Disability Art is here and now!
£25 - Set of 6 postcards - set of A6 postcards by Nancy Willis
Georgia Murphy - Fairer World - £20 - (edition of 20) lino print which measures 14.5 cm x 20.5cm and the paper is Snowdon 130gsm.
no losin yr marbles - £50 - this edition (11 in series) consists of a 1920's clear medical bottle, with a clownfish marble, cork (wilkos) and an inkjet printed signed postcard
Altered Landscapes - was an immersive multimedia installation which traced a personal narrative through the scarred vistas of Europe in the midst of the largest mass migration in living memory. For this exhibition delGado travelled to Greece, Macedonia and Calais to record the journeys taken by refugees. Photographic prints £100 each (edition of 5) 30" x 16"
Bearded Man - £100 each, 1984 Lino Print (Edition of 8) and
Flying Trapeze - £120 each, 1988 Silkscreen Print (Edition of 14)
The Chuckling House - £100 - acrylics on canvas, 33cm x 44cm
Catch 22: Dissolving - £250 - (framed), acrylics on canvas, 51cm x 40cm (unframed dimensions), 54.5cm x 44.5cm (framed dimensions)
Love in a Connection - £200, acrylic on wooden panel block, 5”x5” x 1. Tanya is one of Shropshire's leading Disabled Artists and she shares her knowledge and experience through DASH's visual art workshops throughout Shropshire.
These colourful, acrylic on board paintings are priced at £150 each and each measures 41cm x51cm
left to right top: Boat coming into Bay and Birds and Boats
left to right bottom: Wild Bird and Still Sunset
Time Stood Still - £300 - this is the artist proof, so is unique to any print that will come from the plate in the future. Etching, 33" x 25"
Mike Layward has worked in the arts for nearly 40 years, as a performer, musician, carnival designer, maker, puppeteer, producer, director and live artist. He has worked across the UK, France, Holland, Spain, Palestine and India. Since 1999 Mike has been Artistic Director of DASH and has been instrumental in DASH gaining a National reputation as the leading Disability Visual Arts organisation. Mike's philosophy is based on the belief that the arts are and have to be a vehicle for Social change.
Our Operations Director, Paula Dower, is also a painter and photographer, her usual subjects are horses and the natural world. She lives in Wellington with her husband, daughter and two cats. Paula thinks that DASH makes a difference by creating opportunities for Disabled artists, bringing people together through workshops in the county and extending the reach of DASH by creating partnerships with other cultural organisations.
Carrie Slawinska joined the team in March 2015 as Administration Assistant, and is currently looking after her two young children. Carrie studied Fine Art at Staffordshire University and has delivered practical arts and crafts sessions in a range of settings, including the Beacon Centre, Wolverhampton. She is also a carer for a family member and has trained as a Dementia Friends champion.
Sarah Coxall took up the post of Learning and Engagement Manager in April 2018. Sarah works with Young Disabled Artists, creating and delivering workshops, mentoring and training. Sarah is currently delivering on online course, developed during lockdown, 'Art Influencers: A Guided Tour of Art History'. Giving an online introduction to art history course for those who find barriers to traditional educational routes.
Esther Cartwright joined us in February 2020, as Marketing and Administration Assistant. She has previous Audience Development and Arts Marketing experience in Birmingham and across the region. Since a move to Shropshire and spending some time out to raise a family, Esther has more recently worked as an Administrator for a local council.