The drive for DASH's first commissioning programmes came directly from Disabled artists themselves, who asked “Where are all the Disabled artists?” They were referring to the lack of, or invisibility of Disabled artists in mainstream galleries. DASH decided to undertake research to find out the answer to this question.
The results were disheartening, but not entirely shocking. In 2010, 112 galleries were sent an online survey: - only 35 responded. Of those that responded, just 15 galleries, (44%,) said that they had exhibited at least one piece of work by Disabled artists since 2000.
An additional seven galleries said they were not interested and nineteen said the survey was not relevant to them.
To begin to address the invisibility, lack of interest and inclusion, DASH asked The New Art Gallery Walsall, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Oriel Davies in Newtown to work as partners. Each venue was funded to commission a Disabled Artist to create new work and host the exhibition or event.