Art Competition Ensures Dawn’s Memory Lives On – 06/10/09

Creative mental health service users in Walsall are set to show off their artistic talents at an annual competition.

Service users from Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (DWMHPT) are taking part in the annual Dawn Jones Art Prize and Exhibition, run by Walsall Service Users Empowerment (SUE).

The competition was set up in 2006 in memory of the late Dawn Jones, a Walsall woman who suffered with mental ill health.

Walsall residents who have experience of mental health issues as patients, carers or family members are encouraged to submit pieces of art work for the event, which aims to celebrate service users’ skills and help them cope with their mental illness.

Roger Merrick, manager of Walsall SUE, said: “Dawn’s mother Maureen Jones asked us to work with her to set up this competition in memory of her daughter, because painting was one of Dawn’s passions.

“The event is in its fourth year now and is very popular with a high standard of entries.

“This year’s competition has two categories; one called ‘what I enjoy in life’ and the other is ‘what I hope for’. The winning entrants in each category will receive £50 worth of art materials.”

Glyn Shaw, chairman of DWMHPT, said: “The Dawn Jones Art Prize is a positive initiative which not only shows off the talents of those who have had some experience of mental ill health, but also helps empower service users in their road to recovery.”

Margaret Willcox, Walsall Council Assistant Director (Adult Services) said: “This competition ensures that Dawn’s memory lives on and that her passion for painting inspires others to express themselves. Good luck to everyone who has entered.”

Walsall SUE aims to improve Walsall residents’ access to mental health support services, connect service users with groups and activities within the borough, as well as providing its own services and activities.

The Dawn Jones Art Prize and Exhibition 2009 awards presentation is set to take place on Wednesday (OCT 7) at the Crossing at St Paul’s in Walsall.