Corina Hazlett wins Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Leadership Award

25 July 2012 

Corina Hazlett, a driving force in a recent auction of prison art that raised more than $21,000 for the rebuild of Christchurch, has won the Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Leadership Award 2012.

Corina Hazlett accepts her Big 'A' AwardThe award recognises Corina’s contribution in using the arts as a tool to support the rehabilitation of prisoners. It was one of six awards presented by Arts Access Aotearoa in the Banquet Hall at Parliament on 18 July.

Corina is a Christchurch visual artist and prison art tutor, working across the three Canterbury prisons: Rolleston Prison, Christchurch Men’s Prison and Christchurch Women’s Prison.

Judges say that Corina has made a difference to the lives of prisoners through art. “She has gone the extra mile in making connections, and as a leader, she inspires and motivates others.”

The auction was held in March 2012 and included 140 artworks created by 75 prisoners across the three prisons. Corina provided mentorship, identified sponsors, did the marketing, researched auction processes, and contributed three of her own artworks.

“This was one of the most sincere, inspirational and heartfelt exhibitions I’ve been involved in during my twenty years as a practising artist,” Corina says.

She says that the prisoners often ask her why she “gives up” her time for them.

“I tell them the answer is simple: I make a difference,” she says. “I have had a privileged, loving upbringing, which made a difference to me, and I’m giving it back.

Corina Hazlett with Christine Stevenson“And I never underestimate the sense of accomplishment from completing something, and being told ‘Well done’.”

Corina believes that prison can be a positive environment for re-education. “You can work with offenders to give them skills that will enable them to make better choices, and lessen the risk of re-offending. Art sits alongside other programmes that help prisoners to live crime-free lives after release.”

Corina has more than 15 years’ experience as a teacher and a practising visual artist. She has a diploma in child and adolescent psychology, and is a member of Art Therapies Association Aotearoa and the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.


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