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Byline: By Lauren Turner South Wales Echo

An art exhibition by people with learning difficulties was allegedly snubbed by the Wales Millennium Centre because the work was not 'professional' enough.

That's according to Mencap, the organisation behind The Langdon Doidge Arts Award, who had hoped the paintings could be shown at the Cardiff Bay arts venue.

Wayne Crocker, head of public affairs and campaigns at Mencap Cymru, said their representatives met up with the WMC in December to discuss the exhibition, which shows the work of 20 shortlisted artists with learning disabilities.

Mr Crocker said: 'We were told the space was for professional artists only.

'I explained that some of the paintings had been sold, so technically they are professional.

'I was disappointed. The centre is meant to be open to a wide range of people.'

Colin Gill, of Rhiwbina, Cardiff, whose daughter Joycelyn, 40, has work exhibited at the show, said: 'The paintings on show are as good as those displayed at the Millennium Centre, and many are better.

'I suggest those who took this decision should see for themselves what people less fortunate than themselves can achieve.'

A WMC spokeswoman said: 'Wales Millennium Centre receives many more proposals for visual arts exhibitions than it could ever present.

'The majority of the work exhibited is professional work, though there are occasions when non-professional work is featured as well, such as work by schools and community groups - always as part of a wider partnership or activity.

'While WMC had some initial discussions with Mencap about the possibility of displaying work at the Centre, this was not developed into a formal proposal as part of a partnership project.'

The paintings are now on display at the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans. Annual exhibition's aim is to showcase talent: The Langdon Doidge exhibition at the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans, is an annual event showcasing the talents of those with learning disabilities.

This year's event opened on Friday and runs until July 3.

The exhibition shows the best 20 entries in the annual Langdon Doidge Arts Award, won this year by Cardiff artist Jackie Woods for her painting, Eruption.

People are invited to vote for their favourite entry, which will win the People's Prize. The awards were set up in the memory of Langdon Doidge, the first director of Mencap Cymru. More than 100 entries were received this year.

For more information about Mencap Cymru or the Langdon Doidge Arts Award, contact the Wales Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 8000 300.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 27, 2005
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