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Jenny Gibbs awarded for arts patronage

8 May 2007

Jenny Gibbs awarded for arts patronage and doubles
the money for four high profile recipients

Philanthropist and art collector, Jenny Gibbs, will tonight be honoured for her contribution and extraordinary generosity to the arts with the annual Arts Foundation of New Zealand Award for Patronage., presented by Webb's - Fine Arts Auctioneers.

At the event, which is to be held at Auckland City Art Gallery, Mrs Gibbs will be recognised for her lifetime contribution as an arts philanthropist. She will be given $20,000 by the Arts Foundation to distribute to artists or arts projects of her choice.

Mrs Gibbs has announced she will double the fund and distribute $40,000 to four high profile recipients. Artists Gretchen Albrecht and art projects ARTSPACE, Auckland Writers' and Readers Festival and The New Zealand Opera School will each receive $10,000.

Mrs Gibbs has played a major part in raising the profile of New Zealand art internationally, and within New Zealand, particularly Auckland. She has shown great commitment to the arts through her leadership of numerous arts projects, such as the establishment of the New Gallery for Auckland City Art Gallery and supporting New Zealand's presence at the Venice Biennale.

Mrs Gibbs is a Founder of the Patrons of the Auckland City Art Gallery and the Auckland Contemporary Arts Trust; a Founding Trustee of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand; Foundation Donor and Board Member of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; and a long time member of the prestigious International Council of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

She said she feels honoured to be selected as the recipient of the Award for Patronage and acknowledges the vital role the arts play enriching our society.

"I believe it is as important to address poverty of spirit and culture as it is to address other forms of poverty. Being involved with artists makes you retain an open, questioning and tolerant mind. It keeps one entertained, but also constantly challenged. I love it!" says Mrs Gibbs.

The annual Patronage Awards honour philanthropists who are making an active contribution to the arts in New Zealand. The arts would not survive without private support.

Ros Burdon, Chairperson of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand says: "Jenny Gibbs' generous philanthropic contributions to New Zealand make her one of this country's living treasures. By honouring Jenny we are able to highlight the difference you can make by being a patron."

Peter Webb, Director of Presenting Sponsor, Webb's - Fine Arts Auctioneers, are delighted to be involved with an award that recognises the vital role of the patron and donor in the world of arts: "Webb's has strongly supported the visual arts in New Zealand since its inception over thirty years ago. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for Webb's to give its enthusiastic support to an award that recognises that without the foresight and generosity of patrons, we as a community would be very much the poorer."

Neil Paviour-Smith, Managing Director of the Arts Foundation's Principal Sponsor - Forsyth Barr says: "As Principal Sponsor and managers of the Arts Foundation's Endowment Fund, we're pleased the Award for Patronage provides the opportunity to celebrate significant patrons. Jenny Gibbs has been an inspiration, influencing New Zealand's cultural landscape significantly; and Forsyth Barr warmly congratulates her on this deserved Award.


Jenny Gibbs, CNZM MA (HONS)
Jenny Gibbs is a philanthropist and art collector whose influence has helped raise the profile of New Zealand art internationally, and within New Zealand, particularly Auckland.

Jenny has demonstrated her commitment to the arts through her leadership of numerous
arts projects, with her most ambitious personal undertakings being the establishment of
the New Gallery for Auckland City Art Gallery and supporting New Zealand's presence at the
Venice Biennale. She is Founder of the Patrons of the Auckland City Art Gallery and the Auckland
Contemporary Arts Trust; a Founding Trustee of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand; Foundation, Donor and Board Member of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; and a long time member of the prestigious International Council of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Her enthusiasm and passion for the arts also sees Jenny as a Founding Patron of the Auckland
Festival; a founding benefactor and principal donor of The Walters Prize; a significant donor to the New Zealand Opera Training School and New Zealand Opera; donor to the Elam School of
Fine Arts Auckland (in particular the Elam Residency Project), the Auckland Philharmonia and the Auckland Theatre Company, Auckland Writers and Readers; a sponsor of Books in Homes; and a significant contributor to the refit of ARTSPACE Auckland and sponsor of its intern programme. She is also a supporter of private individuals such as singers Madeleine Pierard, Simon O'Neill, Kristen Darragh and Helen Lear.

Jenny provides significant support to the arts through permitting the use of her Auckland
home for advocacy and social functions. In 2004, her contributions to the Auckland region
were acknowledged when she received the second Auckland City Distinguished Citizen Award.

She is widely recognised as one of this country's most comprehensive private collectors of
paintings, particularly those of Colin McCahon. She gifted Colin McCahon's painting North Otago Landscape to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The inclusion of this work
in this museum's prestigious collection prompted a major retrospective of McCahon's work at the museum.

In addition to supporting the arts, Jenny has twice been Pro-Chancellor of the University of Auckland and has been on the Auckland University Council almost continuously since 1976. She is a founding Trustee of both the Auckland Medical School Foundation and Auckland
University Foundation, and supports many other charitable organisations. She is an active member of various civic organisations such as the New Zealand Institute and the Committee for Auckland.


Gretchen Albrecht
Gretchen Albrecht is one of New Zealand's most respected abstract painters, exhibiting in New Zealand and internationally for more than forty years.

Recent work has appeared in exhibitions in both Europe and the USA, including the exhibition Decades at Robert Steele Gallery, New York and a major survey exhibition Illuminations held at the Auckland City Art Gallery in 2002. A retrospective exhibition of oval and hemisphere paintings, accompanied by recent works on paper and editions, was shown at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in early 2005, before travelling to the City Gallery in Wellington.

Albrecht's work has evolved from the rectangular stained canvases of the 1970s to a pair of signature formats, the hemisphere (half circle) and the oval, shapes that she associates with particular meanings and states of mind. In the resulting works, resonant combinations of colour and geometry create images with a clear poetic impulse in which references to landscape, family and the cosmos act as emotional points of departure. Early in 2000, Pohutukawa (The Cicada's Song), a commissioned work, was installed in the newly developed foyer of the Vero building in Shortland St, Auckland, while later the same year work of similar scale was installed in the renovated Air New Zealand first class lounge at Sydney's International Airport. A hemisphere painting Aotearoa - Cloud was purchased by Gallery Patrons for the Auckland City Art Gallery in 2002.

"This donation is an extraordinary gift from an extraordinary woman. If any person can be singled out as the most constant champion of contemporary art in New Zealand over the past forty years it would have to be Jenny Gibbs." Gretchen Albrecht

ARTSPACE is one of New Zealand's key contemporary art institutions. Established in
1987 as a charitable trust, its innovative, world-class exhibition programme is run from
Karangahape Road in Auckland.

The Newton Post Office Building, where ARTSPACE is located, was designed by Ron Sang and opened in 1970. The ARTSPACE refit in 1997, designed by Nicholas Stevens, was made possible through support from the Farmer Family, Jenny Gibbs, the Chartwell Trust and Alan Gibbs.

Over the years ARTSPACE has helped launch and sustain the practice of many significant New Zealand artists. Its mission is to challenge, inspire and educate the makers and readers of contemporary culture. It has been instrumental in creating global dialogue and presenting significant figures in international art, but is also a key organisation involved in the cutting edge of local contemporary art.

ARTSPACE aims to develop the knowledge, awareness and understanding of contemporary art. This is the philosophy behind its Reading Room with the most up-to-date information and a wide range of resources on contemporary art, which means ARTSPACE is becoming a destination for research. In the same way, the ARTSPACE Curatorial Internship Programme provides an opportunity for budding curators to deepen their knowledge and experience by working in a professional arts environment.

"The magnitude and honour of Jenny Gibbs' generous gift, and the gesture and recognition she has shown ARTSPACE gives us great inspiration... her involvement in contemporary art is clearly from a place of joyful passion." Brian Butler, Director.

The Auckland Writers' and Readers Festival
The Auckland Writers' and Readers Festival was created in May 1999 by a committed group of writers and book lovers eager for an Auckland festival of ideas celebrating books and reading. The first Auckland Writers' Festival had an audience of just under 4000 people.

Since 2001, the Festival has been backed by the Auckland Writers' and Readers
Festival Charitable Trust, and eight years later, the seventh festival will take place
in the Aotea Centre in May 2007, with a projected audience of at least 12,000 people.

A highlight of Auckland City's cultural calendar, the Festival brings together over 100 acclaimed
writers and cultural commentators, both international and local, and thousands of readers for more than 70 individual events on a variety of topics and genres.

The event has an increasingly high international profile. It has a collaborative relationship with the Sydney Writers' Festival and strong local support. Around 500 New Zealand writers and almost 100 international guests will have appeared in festival events since 1999 after the 2007 festival. International guests have included John Banville, Edmund White, Tim Winton, Amy Tan and Jane Smiley, to name a few.

The Festival also features top New Zealand and Pacific writers, having already hosted Arts Foundation Icon Artists, Maurice Gee and Patricia Grace, Laureate Artists Bill Manhire, Elizabeth Knox and Briar Grace-Smith and many other well known New Zealand writers.

"Jenny Gibbs is perhaps most well known for her support of the visual arts and not many people know of her great support for the literary arts. Without people like Jenny, events such as the Auckland Writers' and Readers Festival wouldn't exist." Jill Rawnsley, Festival Director.

The New Zealand Opera School
Now in its twelfth year, the New Zealand Opera School is the country's only intensive and dedicated residential summer school for aspiring young opera singers wanting a little tune up. Over the years a "who's who" of young New Zealand opera performers, including Arts
Foundation Laureate Simon O'Neill, have attended the School.

The opportunity to work closely with and learn from top opera professionals encourages excellence from New Zealand's burgeoning opera talents. The New Zealand Opera School offers a ten-day course of master-classes, one-on-one classes and workshops with top vocal tutors, coaches and repertoires. Tuition from world-class international and New Zealand tutors includes vocal technique, repertoire, languages, movement and stagecraft, and also support and advice on developing performance, study and professional career opportunities. The school is open to singing students intent on pursuing an opera career and those young performers who are already on the way towards this and who want to further refine their skills.

The school is held annually in January at Wanganui Collegiate School. Open master-classes and recitals around Wanganui provide the chance for the public to hear some of the country's most promising opera talent.

"To receive a further marvellous gift through the Arts Foundation Award for Patronage is testimony to Jenny Gibbs enduring support for the world of the opera and of young singers in particular." Director of the New Zealand Opera School.

The Award for Patronage is an annual award that honours philanthropists who are making an active contribution to the arts in New Zealand. The Foundation is a national private trust that supports all art forms through identifying and rewarding artistic excellence via impeccable processes. The Foundation enables New Zealanders to act collectively as patrons through donations and legacies.

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand
The Arts Foundation of New Zealand is a charitable Trust, independent from government that invests in excellence in New Zealand Arts.

The Foundation has an endowment fund, which generates income to support the arts. It encourages private individuals to support the endowment through donations and bequests. The endowment fund was originally set up through donations from the Lottery Grant Board and a three year loan of $1 million from an anonymous patron.

Webb's - Fine Arts Auctioneers
Webb's was established in 1976 to bring to the New Zealand market a higher level of professionalism in the selling of works of art in all categories by auction. Since that date the company has grown to become a leader not only in selling fine art but also in the specialist fields of decorative arts, jewellery, estate, household effects and wine under the hammer.

Webb's auctions are a great place to learn about the markets for art, antiques and collectables. Webb's conducts more than one hundred and fifty sales each year from its salerooms off Broadway, Newmarket, in Auckland. The sales attract art and antique dealers and collectors from all over New Zealand, and frequently buyers from locations abroad.


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