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Risca and Caerphilly teenagers in final of national art competition

Published in News at 14:31, Friday July 6th, 2012.

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Two teenagers have been announced as finalists for a national art competition.

Sixteen year-old Lewis Davies, a pupil at Risca Community Comprehensive, and 17-year-old Alexander Wright, from Caerphilly, have been shortlisted for the Create! Art for Autism competition – organised by Beechwood College in Sully.

More than 550 young artists from up and down the country entered artwork across the four categories: 2D art, 3D art, digital art and poetry, impressing the panel of judges, which includes British actress and President of the National Autistic Society, Jane Asher, tv presenter, Gaby Roslin and Principal of Beechwood College, Darren Jackson.

Lewis has been shortlisted in the Digital Art Category while Alexander has been shortlisted in the 3D Art category for his African mask self-portrait.

Alexander Wright's self-portrait

Alexander Wright's self-portrait

Winners will be announced today with the finalists’ artwork rolled out in a national art tour which will take in Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham and London.

Beechwood College, one of the UK’s leading specialist residential colleges for students with autism, launched this year’s competition in March at a Parliamentary reception and has unveiled six finalists in each of the four award categories.

Now in its second year, the competition was open to all young people aged 11 to 25 years that have formally been diagnosed with autism. It aims to dispel the myth that young people with autism cannot be creative and shows how art can significantly improve their quality of life.

Darren Jackson, Principal of Beechwood College, said: “It’s amazing to see that, just one year on from the first Create! Art for Autism competition, we’ve already received over 550 entries – a significant increase from last year’s 350 entries. I was astounded by the quality and individuality of last year’s artwork and this year we’ve seen many more fantastic entries across all four categories.

“We have seen at Beechwood College how art and creativity can transform the lives of our students, helping them to communicate with the world around them and I’m delighted to see such strong support for this competition. Young people with autism have a huge amount of creative flair and it’s vital that we recognise and celebrate their abilities.”

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