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WOMAD’s accessibility praised at Big ‘A’ Awards

18 Jul 2012

This content is tagged as All Artforms .


WOMAD, New Plymouth’s annual outdoor festival of music, art and dance, was presented with the Big ‘A’ Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2012 tonight in the Banquet Hall at Parliament by Arts Access Aotearoa.

Now in its tenth year, WOMAD boasts an audience of more than 40,000 over its three days. Its nomination was supported with accolades from many members of the disabled community, praising the welcoming and accessible WOMAD experience.

Judges said that “WOMAD gets accessibility in every way and is a benchmark for what other organisations can aspire to”. They praised the festival’s accessibility policy, which “puts community participation, consultation and access at the heart of everything it does”.

The annual Big ‘A’ Awards are the key awards in New Zealand celebrating the achievements of individuals and organisations providing opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts. This year, the Big ‘A’ Awards introduced two award categories: the Big ‘A’ Artistic Achievement Awardand 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 five other 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 Houboult, 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
  • 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
  • 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

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).

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 theinaugural 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.