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Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020 Celebrate Diversity And The Arts

An award-winning performing artist, arts projects and creative spaces nurturing mental health and wellbeing, a pioneer of accessibility in children’s theatre, and leadership in delivering arts programmes in prisons will be celebrated at Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020, presented online for the first time by Arts Access Aotearoa on Tuesday 13 October.

Multi-Media Systems has created a prerecorded video of the event and this will feature on Arts Access Aotearoa’s website, starting at 6.30pm and celebrating the recipients of this year’s Arts Access Accolade and the six awards. The video is sign interpreted and captioned, and an audio described option is also available.

Executive Director Richard Benge says access to the arts is a fundamental human right. “During these difficult times of a global pandemic, we know that the arts and creativity offer a valuable pathway to mental health and wellbeing.

“Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of people and communities who provide these pathways and make Aotearoa New Zealand a rich, diverse and creative country.”

This year’s Arts Access Accolade will be presented to Judith Jones, who has worked closely with Arts Access Aotearoa over the past six years, and is a champion of accessibility and inclusion in the arts. Judith is an experienced audio describer and offers sensory tours at Te Papa Tongarewa, where she works as a host.

The Arts Access Accolade is chosen by Arts Access Aotearoa’s staff and board. Executive Director Richard Benge says Judith is “generous of spirit, has a deep knowledge and desire to learn more, and is always going the extra mile to support Arts Access Aotearoa’s mahi”.

The six other recipients, selected by judging panels, are:

· Arts For Health Community Trust, Hamilton, awarded the Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Space Award 2020, for its impact in the community over 30 years. The arts programmes of this grassroots organisation touch the lives of diverse people: youth, hospital patients, senior citizens – in fact, anyone wanting to use creativity as a means of empowerment and wellbeing.

· Rue-Jade Morgan, Dunedin, awarded the Arts Access Corrections Māui Tikitiki ā Taranga Award 2020, for his leadership in sharing his skills and life experience as a former prisoner with others in his Te Hōkai Manea Tīpuna programme. The heartfelt feedback from the men in Otago Corrections Facility is testament to the value of his work.

· MIX and Arts on High (Hutt City), Pablos Art Studio and Vinnies Resew (Wellington) and The Shed Project (Kapiti Coast) for their project Get A Hat, Get A Head, awarded the Arts Access Creative New Zealand Community Arts Award 2020, for an outstanding collaborative exhibition with high-quality artistic outcomes and an impressive public programme of events held during Mental Health Awareness Week 2019. The 40 exhibiting artists from the five creative spaces created work that spoke to their vulnerability and helped reduce stigma.

· Tim Bray Theatre Company, Takapuna, Auckland, awarded the Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2020, for its leadership and long-term commitment to accessibility since 2004, when it started to provide NZSL interpreted theatre performances to children. Its accessibility policy drives its pioneering work in making theatre more accessible to disabled children and their families.

· Duncan Armstrong, Northland, Wellington, awarded the Arts Access PAK’n SAVE Artistic Achievement Award 2020, for his outstanding artistic achievements across a range of artforms. Duncan has demonstrated enormous perseverance in overcoming obstacles and pursuing his career, and his list of achievements is thoroughly deserved. He has transformed perceptions about disability and in doing so has created a pathway for others.

· Redemption Performing Arts Whānau and Redemption Arts Tuakana Teina Mentors, Northland Region Corrections Facility, Bay of Islands, awarded the Arts Access Corrections Whai Tikanga Award 2020, for taking leadership roles and mentoring other prisoners, including during the COVID-19 lockdown. The group works collaboratively and autonomously, using the pillars of Corrections’ Hōkai Rangi Strategy as its guide. The positive impact of this group of men provides an example for other prison sites to follow.

The annual Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards are the key national awards in New Zealand celebrating the achievements 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 a disability, sensory impairment or lived experience of mental illness.

Celebrate the recipients of Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020, presented online Tuesday 13 October. Please click on the link to Arts Access Aotearoa’s website at 6pm: https://bit.ly/3crPk8e

6pm: A prelude of performances and an introduction from the audio describers. Audio description has been included for blind and low-vision audience members. The presentation is also NZSL interpreted and captioned.

6.30pm: Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020 begin.

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