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Professor Jack C Richards receives Award for Patronage

Professor Jack C Richards receives Award for Patronage

24 September 2014

For immediate release

Professor Jack C Richards has been announced as the recipient of this year’s Arts Foundation of New Zealand Award for Patronage, one of the Awards to be presented at the 2014 New Zealand Arts Awards on the 3rd of November at SkyCity Theatre. The Award recognises a significant philanthropic contribution to the arts and was last presented to the well-known Todd Family. Previous recipients of the Award for Patronage also include Denis and Verna Adam, Dame Jenny Gibbs, Gillian and Roderick Deane, Adrienne, Lady Stewart, Gus and Irene Fisher, and the Chartwell Trust.

The Award for Patronage comes with $20,000 to be donated to the artists, arts organisations or projects of the recipient’s choice. Professor Richards will also donate $20,000 of his own money so that four donations of $10,000 will be made on the night. Donation recipients will be announced at the Arts Awards. Previous recipients of $10,000 Award for Patronage donations include the Auckland Choral Society, Political Cartoonist Tom Scott, Opera Singer Jonathan Fa'afetai Lemalu, Fashion Designer Emilia Wickstead and the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Professor Richards is an internationally renowned Linguist specialising in second and foreign language teaching with a long history of supporting the arts, he says “Patronage can play a crucial role in helping people achieve their potential – as it did for me when I was a Ph.D student. It can also help make important things happen. I think these are the factors that make patronage rewarding for me and my thanks to the Arts Foundation for their recognition and support."

Professor Richards studied for his Ph.D in Canada and has worked all over the world but he was born in New Zealand, residing predominantly in Gisborne and completed his early tertiary education at Victoria University of Wellington. He has a keen interest in the arts, particularly in music, having studied piano for many years he also comes from a family of musicians on his mother’s side – his Grandfather, George Croft, was a well-known organ builder. He has a particular love of the piano and has often commissioned work including Arts Foundation Laureate’s John Psathas and Gareth Farr.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, premiered one such commission by Gareth Farr earlier this year at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington. The work, entitled Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was performed by soloist Tony Lee who was introduced to Farr at one of Professor Richards’ Summer Concert series. The Summer Concert series is a regular event held in his Gisborne home to raise funds for the Gisborne International Music Competition.

In May, the Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne opened the Jack C Richards Decorative Art Gallery. The gallery shows pieces from Professor Richards own collection including Lalique glassware and rare Asian robes from his extensive textiles collection.

Among other initiatives Professor Richards jointly funds the Composer in Residence program at the New Zealand School of Music with Creative New Zealand, is a Patron of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, and offers annual scholarships to students in the Toihoukura School of Contemporary Arts. In 2011 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by Victoria University, Wellington, recognising his contributions to English language teaching and the arts.


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