Big ‘A’ Awards 2012 recognise artistic contributions
18 July 2012
Quilters who pass on their skills to women prisoners, a circus artist who is blind, and an outdoor music festival that puts access at the heart of everything it does are among the award recipients recognised tonight at the Big ‘A’ Awards 2012, presented at Parliament by Arts Access Aotearoa.
The Big ‘A’ Awards 2012 were hosted by the Hon. Christopher Finlayson, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, in the Banquet Hall of Parliament. The six recipients are:
- The Quilt-Stitch Group, Auckland, awarded the inaugural Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Community Award, recognising the outstanding contribution of a community group or community organisation working with the Department of Corrections and using the arts as a tool to support the rehabilitation of prisoners
- Sarah Houbolt, circus artist, Auckland, awarded the inaugural Big ‘A’ Artistic Achievement Award 2012, recognising her outstanding achievements and contribution as an artist with a sensory impairment
- WOMAD New Zealand, New Plymouth, awarded the Big ‘A’ Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2012, demonstrating its commitment to developing its audiences by being accessible to the disabled community
- Vincents Art Workshop, Wellington, awarded the Big ‘A’ Creative Space Award 2012 for its outstanding contribution and impact in providing opportunities for people with limited access to make art across any or all artforms
- Nga Rangatahi Toa Creative Arts Initiative, Artstation and the MIT School of Visual Arts, Auckland, awarded the Big ‘A’ Community Partnership Award 2012, recognising an outstanding partnership and project that has promoted diversity, enabled inclusion and created opportunities for rangatahi to create art, learn new skills and transition into tertiary study
- Corina Hazlett, art tutor, Canterbury Prisons, Christchurch, awarded the Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Leadership Award 2012 for her outstanding contribution in using the arts as a tool to support the rehabilitation of prisoners
The annual Big ‘A’ Awards are the key national awards in New Zealand celebrating the achievements of individuals and organisations providing opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts as artists and audience members. This year, the Big ‘A’ Awards introduced two new awards: the Big ‘A’ Artistic Achievement Award and the Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Community Award.
Richard Benge, Executive Director of Arts Access Aotearoa, paid tribute to the often unsung heroes working in communities throughout New Zealand to enrich people’s artistic lives.
“The arts offer a window to self-expression and creativity, lifting our spirits and connecting us to our communities,” he said. “It’s important to acknowledge leaders in the community and professional arts sectors who provide opportunities for people with limited access to engage in the arts. As tonight’s recipients demonstrate, everyone benefits.”
The six recipients were selected by a panel of judges comprising Minnie Baragwanath (Chief Executive, Be. Accessible); Rachel Leota (Assistant General Manager – Service Development, Department of Corrections); Rachel Mullins (Inclusive Communities Co-ordinator, Christchurch City Council); Erwin van Asbeck (Manager, Toi Ora Live Arts Trust, Auckland); Stephen Wainwright (Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand); and Richard Benge (Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa).
The judges described the judging experience as challenging, illuminating and inspiring. “We read about some great artists, and some fantastic work happening in communities to provide access for people to make art, and also to enjoy the arts as audience members and gallery visitors.”
Highly Commended certificates were also presented in several of the award categories. These were:
- Sandz Gallery and Studio (Hamilton) and Pablos Art Studios and ROAR! gallery (Wellington) for the Big ‘A’ Creative Space Award 2012
- Ann Abraham, Prison Manager, Arohata Prison (Wellington) for the Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Leadership Award 2012
- Andrew Blythe (visual artist, Auckland), Melissa Fox (dancer, Christchurch) and Daniel King (dancer, Auckland) for the inaugural Big ‘A’ Artistic Achievement Award 2012
- THE EDGE (Auckland) for the Big ‘A’ Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2012.
Arts Access Aotearoa receives core funding from Creative New Zealand and has a major contract with the Department of Corrections to support and advise on the arts as a tool in the rehabilitation process of prisoners.