11 Aug 2016
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Building new audiences by welcoming disabled people to its classical music concerts has made Chamber Music New Zealand a worthy recipient of the Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts for All Award 2016.
The Arts Access Awards 2016, held in the Banquet Hall of Parliament tonight (subs: 6.30 pm 10 August), celebrate the achievement 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 an artist with disability, sensory impairment or lived experience of mental illness.
Since 2012, Chamber Music New Zealand has been presenting workshops and “relaxed performances” for people with intellectual disabilities. In 2014, it expanded the programme to include touch tours and audio described concerts for blind and partially sighted patrons.
The judging panel praised the commitment of Chamber Music New Zealand in providing a welcoming environment and responding to the accessibility needs of disabled people. The relaxed performances, in particular, were considered “ground-breaking”.
Richard Benge, Executive Director of Arts Access Aotearoa, said that one in four people in New Zealand – more than one million – live with a disability or impairment.
“That’s a lot of people, who all have the right to enjoy the arts as artists, participants, audience members and gallery visitors,” he said. “Tonight, we celebrate the achievements and contribution of people and communities who make Aotearoa New Zealand a rich, diverse and creative country.”
The seven other recipients are: