30 Jul 2013
A gifted musician, a community circus, a theatre catering for blind patrons, an organisation offering innovative art programmes and leadership in using the arts as a rehabilitative tool in prisons were recognised at the Big ‘A’ Awards 2013, presented at Parliament last night by Arts Access Aotearoa.
The Big ‘A’ Awards 2013 were hosted by the Hon. Christopher Finlayson, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, in the Banquet Hall of Parliament. The six recipients are:
- Andrew McMillan, North Shore, Auckland, awarded the Big ‘A’ Artistic Achievement Award 2013, recognising the outstanding achievements and contribution of a disabled artist
- Circability Trust, Toi Ora Live Art Trust and Giant Leap Foundation, Auckland, awarded the Big ‘A’ Community Partnership Award 2013, recognising its outstanding partnership and community circus project that promoted diversity, enabled inclusion and created opportunities
- Fortune Theatre, Dunedin, awarded the Big ‘A’ Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2013, recognising its commitment to developing its audiences by being accessible to the disabled community
- Spark Centre of Creative Development, St Lukes, Auckland, awarded the Big ‘A’ Creative Space Award 2013 for its outstanding contribution and impact in providing opportunities for people with limited access to make art
- Waihopai Rūnaka, Invercargill, awarded the Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Community Award 2013, recognising its outstanding contribution in working with the Department of Corrections and using the arts as a tool to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners
- Ann Byford, prison art tutor, Waikeria Prison, Waikato, awarded the Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Leadership Award 2013 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. They also recognise the achievements of a disabled artist.
Richard Benge, Executive Director of Arts Access Aotearoa, said it was important to acknowledge leaders in the community and professional arts sectors who help break down the barriers for people with limited access to engage in the arts.
“The arts connect us to our communities and can cross cultures, faiths, generations and languages,” he said. “Tonight’s Big ‘A’ Awards celebrate the individuals and institutions who are making the arts accessible to everyone in New Zealand.
“I also want to applaud the achievements of Andrew McMillan, recipient of the Big ‘A’ Artistic Achievement Award. Andrew is hugely talented and constantly pushing the boundaries as a musician, composer, sound designer, musical director and improviser.”
Highly Commended certificates were also presented in several of the award categories. These were:
- New Zealand Opera, Big ‘A’ Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2013, for its audio described performances and touch tours of The Bartered Bride in Auckland and Wellington
- Artsenta, Dunedin, Big ‘A’ Creative Space Award 2013, for its valuable role in the local arts community, the city itself and wider Otago region
- Community Art Works, Nelson, Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Community Award 2013, for its partnership with Nelson Community Probation
- Shut-in Stitchers, Wellington, Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Community Award 2013, for sharing its quilting skills over 20 years with women in Arohata Prison.
The evening also featured music by The Real Timeliners and kapa haka, performed by Ngati Poneke. Award recipient Andrew McMillan performed with saxophonist Jeff Henderson.
Arts Access Aotearoa advocates for people in New Zealand who experience barriers to participation in the arts, as both creators and audience members. Its key stakeholders are people with physical, sensory or intellectual impairments; individuals and organisations in the community and professional arts sectors; and mental health service users. It is also the key organisation in New Zealand facilitating the arts as a tool to support the rehabilitative process of prisoners.
Arts Access Aotearoa receives core funding from Creative New Zealand and has a contract with the Department of Corrections to support and advise on its arts activities and programmes.