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2020 Creative Partnerships Awards recognise philanthropic and business art leaders

2020 Creative Partnerships Awards recognise philanthropic and business art leaders
November 23, 2020

In recognition of the arts leaders, philanthropists and partners advancing Australia’s arts sector, Creative Partnerships Australia has today announced the nine luminary recipients of the 2020 Creative Partnerships Awards.

The Awards recognise remarkable individuals who have devoted years, decades and generations to supporting Australian culture and enabling Australian audiences to access and experience the arts.

Creative Partnerships Australia has led the Creative Partnerships Awards since 2013, embracing the legacy of the Australian Business Arts Foundation Awards, which celebrated excellence in partnerships and private sector support to the arts for more than a decade.

Creative Partnerships Australia sparks investment in the arts by fostering giving and partnerships that brings together donors, businesses, artists and arts organisations to maintain a vibrant, robust and sustainable arts sector for the benefit of all Australians.

The 2020 Creative Partnerships Awards recipients are:

•             Emerging Philanthropist Award – Alexandra Burt

•             Arts Leadership Award – Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield 

•             Business Leadership Award – Andy Penn

•             Philanthropy Leadership Award – Maureen Wheeler and Tony Wheeler 

•             Arts Visionary Award – joint recipients: S Baillieu Myer and Sarah Myer; and Lady Potter 

Creative Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Fiona Menzies explained the Awards recipients are invested in developing the arts for everyone advising that “Every year it is humbling to see how many passionate supporters of the arts there are, and this year is no exception.

“This year’s Award recipients all have a deep understanding of how arts and culture are an integral part of people’s lives and their contributions are both about supporting excellence and ensuring that all Australians can access and enjoy the arts.  In each case, they are not only generous supporters themselves, but are champions for the arts and encourage others to join them.”

Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher noted “The Creative Partnerships Australia Awards are an important opportunity to recognise the generosity, advocacy and leadership of philanthropists who champion arts in Australia.”

Alexandra Burt - Emerging Philanthropist Award (pictured above) - has been leading by example, making an exceptional contribution to the West Australian Ballet as the Patron of Giving, the West Australian Opera, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Australian String Quartet and the Venice Biennale, among other organisations. 

Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield -Arts Leadership Award - are two outstanding individuals, who separately and together have made a significant contribution to the arts. Through their partnership leading the Adelaide Festival, they have realised a substantial increase in philanthropic funding and business sponsorship, allowing them to develop and deliver ambitious artistic programs which has driven a significant increase in attendance to the festival.

Andy Penn - Business Leadership Award - leads a company that has supported the arts over many years. Telstra has supported the Australian Ballet for over 35 years and the NATSIAAs (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards) for over 28 years. Telstra is also an advocate for new cultural support, including a technology partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria.

Maureen Wheeler and Tony Wheeler - Philanthropy Leadership Award -are a visionary couple who were instrumental in supporting Opera Australia to bring The Ring Cycle to Melbourne. They have also supported Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne Festival, Malthouse Theatre and Melbourne Fringe. Most notably, they have cemented the reputation of Melbourne as a city of books, writing and ideas through the creation of the Wheeler Centre.

S Baillieu Myer and Sarah Myer  - Arts Visionary Award -have nurtured a legacy of generous and wide-ranging philanthropy as well as inspiring and motivating the generations who follow them. They are at the forefront of philanthropic giving in Australia, pioneering a style of philanthropy that was transformative and capacity building, enriching Australia’s cultural life. They have also supported the Myer Music Bowl, Arts Centre Melbourne, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Grafton Regional Gallery, the Australian Tapestry Workshop, McClelland Sculpture Park and many other cultural institutions.

Lady Primrose Potter - Arts Visionary Award - has led individual giving to the arts through her roles with numerous organisations, and through her determination has enlisted the support of equally passionate art lovers. She was a founding member of the Bell Shakespeare Company, Patron in Chief of the Melbourne Opera and Director of the Museum Potter Museum of Art. She was also President Annual Giving Program with the Australian Ballet, whose headquarters is named in her honour following large contributions over many years.

Previous Award recipients include:

•             Emerging Philanthropy Award – Joseph O’Brien, Mark Rubbo and Beau Neilson, and Terry Wu;

•             Business Leadership Award – Adrian Fini, Helen Carroll and Ian Kew;

•             Arts Leadership Award – Sheena Boughen, Richard Gill and David McAllister;

•             Philanthropy Leadership Award – Andrew Cameron and Cathy Cameron, Tim Fairfax and Gina Fairfax, and John Gandel and Pauline Gandel and

•             Arts Visionary Award – John Kaldor.

For more information go to  

Image top: Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy recipients of Creative Partnerships  – Arts Leadership Award: Credit: Shane Reid and Image above: Alexandra Burt recipient of the Creative Partnerships Awards – Emerging Philanthropist  Supplied:Creative Partnerships Australia

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