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Prison art providers recognised in Big ‘A’ Awards 2013

1 August 2013

Prison art providers recognised in Big ‘A’ Awards 2013

Arts activities in prisons, including quilting, painting and Māori cultural arts, were among those recognised when the Big ‘A’ Awards 2013 were presented in Parliament on Tuesday night.

“Corrections congratulates all the Big ‘A’ prison award winners,” said Jo Field, General Manager Service Development.

“Arts programmes, both in prison and in the community, play a valuable part in supporting Corrections’ rehabilitation effort. This year’s winners and runners up reflect the wide range of programmes offered to prisoners and offenders alike.

“Reducing re-offending is Corrections’ top priority and we have a range of comprehensive rehabilitation and job training programmes to help prisoners live crime-free.

“Prison art teaches basic life skills that some prisoners lack, for example patience and working in a team. It can also be an opportunity for offenders to address their behaviour,” Ms Field said.

The annual Big ‘A’ Awards, presented by Arts Access Aotearoa, celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations which provide opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts.

Award winners:

Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Leadership Award 2013 - Ann Byford, Waikato
Ann Byford is a prison art tutor at Waikeria Prison and Spring Hill Corrections Facility. She received the award for her outstanding contribution in using the arts as a tool to support the rehabilitation of prisoners. Ann teaches two painting classes a week at each prison. She follows a ten-week programme where the men learn canvas-making, painting techniques and processes. An exhibition of their work is held at the end of each term.

The prisoners at Waikeria are working on a new project this year to develop an installation of paintings to provide positive messages in the custody area of Hamilton Police Station.

Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Community Award 2013 - Waihopai Rūnaka, Invercargill
The award for Waihopai Rūnaka in Invercargill, recognised its outstanding contribution in working with Corrections and using the arts as a tool to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners.

Waihopai Rūnaka runs two tikanga programmes: one inside the prison and the other in the community on Murihiku Marae in Invercargill. Each programme is delivered four times a year, to between 10 and 15 men each time.

The rūnaka was first contracted by Corrections to deliver a tikanga programme in the community in 2001. Ten years later, a prison-based programme was introduced to Invercargill Prison. On release from prison, the men are able to continue their learning and reintegration by staying at Murihiku Marae and participating in the tikanga-based programme.

Highly Commended:
Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Community Award 2013 - Community Art Works, Nelson

Community Art Works, a creative space in Nelson, received the award for its partnership with Nelson Community Probation. For the past five years, Nelson Community Probation has been working with Community Art Works, where 14 offenders are currently completing their community work hours. These offenders are engaged in various projects, including making props for the annual Christmas parade, making papier mache poppies for Anzac Day and participating in arts activities.

Big ‘A’ Prison Arts Community Award 2013 - Shut-in Stitchers, Wellington
Shut-in Stitchers received its award for sharing quilting skills for more than 20 years with women in Arohata Prison. Women volunteer their time and expertise every Saturday morning to teach the traditional craft of quilting to prisoners. The volunteers, most of them members of the Wellington Quilters Guild, have been doing this since 1993.

ENDS

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