Exciting times at Heart & Sold

by Emma Lambert, Heart & Sold

At the end of October, Heart & Sold will be showing at one of the UK’s leading art fairs, the Buy Art Fair in Manchester.

It’s an exciting prospect – we will be there, exhibiting and selling the work of our 33 artists, alongside hundreds of ‘typical’ artists. This captures brilliantly the very reason for our being.

Our stand will feature the work of some of the finest contemporary artists. The fact that they just happen to have Down’s syndrome is an aside – we don’t want (or need) a fanfare or special concessions because our awesome artists have an extra chromosome. The people who have come to the fair will not be judging the pieces they buy based on what condition the people who created them may or may not have.

They will be buying them because they make their heart sing and because they will look great in their home.

That’s not to say, we don’t celebrate our artists having Down’s syndrome or that we’re not incredibly proud of what they may have had to overcome to produce their beautiful work. However, rather than pigeon-holing our painters, illustrators and photographers into a ‘disability’ art niche, Heart & Sold has always hoped simply to level the playing field in terms of getting the artists’ work out there and giving them a platform for their creativity.

Images courtesy of Paul Moffat Photography (group shots) and Troy Dugus (individual artist painting)

And this is just what our inspirational founders Suzie and Paul Moffat have been able to achieve in the five years since Heart & Sold was born. We now have a thriving website from which to sell the prints and stunning ChromoLuxe high definition photo panels. As well as holding our own exhibitions, we can support artists pursuing their own individual opportunities.

So, from a business perspective, the Buy Art Fair will be an incredible opportunity. On a personal note, I’m beyond thrilled to finally meet some of the artists I’ve been helping to promote since I joined the company over the summer.

I am a worrier at heart and when my daughter Lottie was born five years ago with Down’s syndrome, I was nervous for her future. As I said, I’m a worrier and I also regularly worry about our sons’ futures and neither boy has Down’s syndrome!

At first I didn’t look too far ahead and concerned myself with how soon she would hit those early milestones – sitting, crawling and walking. Then once she’d achieved those, school was the next ‘eek moment’ on the horizon.

Now she has absolutely aced starting school, I’m beginning to think beyond that and wonder what the post-college years will hold for Lottie.

And that’s why Heart & Sold is so important to me.

I look at these incredible artists and I hope I catch a glimpse of Lottie’s future. I dream that Lottie will be able to achieve whatever she sets out to. I want her to have the same opportunities to succeed as her brothers; and as well as fulfilling her potential, I want her to be able to contribute and make her own way in society.

I worry (of course!) that there are not enough opportunities for our young people going out into the world but I do sense (pray for) a change. Hopefully, by raising the profile of organizations such as Foxes Academy and Heart & Sold, and other similarly wonderful initiatives like the DSA’s WorkFit project, we will help companies of all shapes and sizes realise that individuals with Down’s syndrome can take their place in the workforce and make a real contribution based on their talents and skills.

The Buy Art Fair is being held 27-29 October at Manchester Central.

For tickets or further information, visit www.buyartfair.co.uk, while Heart & Sold can be found at www.heartandsold.org.uk

The Buy Art Fair organisers are delighted to offer supporters of DSA free weekend tickets for Saturday & Sunday 28-29 October 2017. Simply enter the code ‘sapphire’ to claim your tickets.

Book your tickets online at www.buyartfair.co.uk/tickets