South London arts organisation Heart n Soul celebrated recent MBE awards to director Mark Williams and founder artist Pino Frumiento in the Queen's New Years Honours List on Wednesday 31 March.
Heart n Soul Now celebrated the MBE success at the Albany arts venue in Deptford, where the organisation has been based for 24 years.
Guest speakers on the night included Margaret Hodge MBE MP, Minister of Culture and Tourism; Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham and Tony Panayiotou, Director of Diversity at Arts Council England. Joan Ruddock, MP for Lewisham, Deptford was also present to enjoy the night's celebrations.
Representatives from leading arts organisations enjoying the evening included Jenny Sealey from Graeae and Steve Mannix from LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games).
200 invited guests were treated to the 'Music of Pino Show.' The show featured key Heart n Soul musicians including Lizzie Emeh performing a selection of songs from Pino's 24-year songwriting career. The music ranged from anthemic dance beats to reggae and funk.
Pino, who is 47, said: "It was a wonderful evening. I feel very proud that I've got this far and I've been able to do what I wanted in my life."
Margaret Hodge said: "I started my parliamentary career in the disability sector and in my current role I feel like I've come full circle. The work being done by organisations like Heart n Soul shows why Britain are world leaders in the arts."
Mark and Pino founded Heart n Soul in 1986. It is now one of the UK's leading arts organisations producing the work of artists with learning disabilities locally, nationally and internationally.
Heart n Soul is also the creator of The Beautiful Octopus Club, London's longest running multi-media club night. Created in 1995, the club is now a major event which showcases the best original art and culture created by people with learning disabilities and has inspired over fifty other clubs across the UK and Australia.
In 1999 Heart n Soul also set up The Squidz Club, a participatory club night for young people (14-25years) with learning disabilities.