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This month, we are calling for nominations to the Arts Access Awards 2015. Nominations are accepted from anyone – individuals and organisations ­ – who wish to see people, projects and achievements acknowledged and celebrated (self-nominations are also welcomed). There are awards recognising individual artistic achievement, community partnerships, creative spaces and art accessibility.

The sectors that work to increase access to and inclusion in the arts across Aotearoa are varied. They range from creative spaces and tutors through to arts, cultural and entertainment venues, organisations and producers.

The award recipients are celebrated and gain national profile, which benefits the recipients’ work, their artists and their communities. The recipients are flown to Wellington for the fantastic awards function at Parliament, attended by more than 250 guests every year. They also get to attend the exciting after-party held at Wellington’s most accessible hotel, CQ Hotels Wellington on Cuba St.

Download nomination forms

To make a nomination visit this webpage where you can download nomination forms and watch the video clips about last year’s Arts Access Awards.

Art, inclusion and community partnerships are off to an inspiring start with the Outside In exhibition, organised by SkillWise and its creative space, the White Room, in partnership with Canterbury Museum. This exhibition is inclusive of artists across the community. There are no labels defining their disability, impairment or life circumstance. As such, it is a milestone of community outreach and inclusion by a leading museum.

Thousands of local and international visitors are drawn to Canterbury Museum because it holds and shares the story of Canterbury and New Zealand’s history in Antarctic scientific exploration. The artworks and artists in the Outside In exhibition are part of Canterbury’s contemporary story. Having these artists included makes a bold statement about who the museum is also for and how it reflects the community around it.

Thanks to a member of Arts Advocacy Christchurch, Anna-Marie Mitchell, who attended the opening and wrote a blog for us.

Co-curators Gail Batchelor and Bev Lowen

In his speech John Grant, General Manager of SkillWise, thanked Canterbury Museum for enabling the exhibition to take place in such an “iconic venue”. He also talked about leadership and collaboration.

“Any collaborative enterprise requires a leader. The leader in this instance is undoubtedly Bev Lowen, whose passion and undying enthusiasm has made this possible. I have worked with Bev for over nine years and during that time have been constantly amazed at her drive and determination to help create a world more accepting of the talents and gifts of people with an intellectual disability. Without Bev, this exhibition would not have happened.”

The Outside In exhibition was organised and curated by Bev Lowen and Gail Batchelor with Neil Phillips, Exhibitions Manager at Canterbury Museum. Bev was a mentee in Arts Access Aotearoa’s first Creative Spaces Mentor Programme in 2013.

Stepping up to new challenges

This exhibition is an example of how, given the right encouragement and guidance, tutors like Bev and future managers in the creative spaces sector are ready to step up to new challenges.

People working in this sector need professional development opportunities so they can explore new programmes and ways for artists and their communities to be creative through meaningful opportunities.

The next intake to the Arts Access Aotearoa Creative Spaces Mentor Programme will be in May this year. The programme includes a one-day training day for mentors and mentees, and over 12 months, mentees benefit from guidance and discussion with an independent mentor to help them achieve their professional development goals. You can read more about the programme and last year’s group.

Next month, we will be calling for applications to the programme, starting in May. Please think about this if it is a good fit for you, or inform your colleagues, contacts or networks.



Who will you nominate for the Arts Access Awards 2015?



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