Leaders from philanthropy, business and the artswho advocate for a thriving culture of private investment in the artswere honoured recently at Melbourne's Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.
Minister for the Arts, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, remarked that the award winners’ ' private efforts and contributions had a character that can only be realised when something is done willingly, freely, passionately and as a mark of personal commitment.'
This statement is borne out by the comments of the award winners, who are enthusiastic about the many and multifaceted rewards and benefits that supporting a thriving arts culture brings to the community, but also to them personally.
The Philanthropy Leadership Award was shared between Andrew Cameron AO and Cathy Cameron. Among their many contributions, Andrew Cameron recently served on the AMPAG Board, and is outgoing Chair of Belvoir; and Cathy Cameron is on the board of Playwriting Australia.
‘We see our philanthropy as an investment; as a two-way street. The currency of the return for us is the ability to be part of the process, to get to know the artists, to understand their motivation, then to see the works realised in the gallery or on stage, gives me an enormous amount of pleasure.’ Andrew Cameron
‘One of the highlights of our philanthropy for me was seeing young Australian actors on stage in New York in the touring Belvoir production of The Book of Everything, and Peter Pan — it was just amazing, and it was wonderful to have helped to create that opportunity.’ Cathy Cameron
Ian Narev, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Bank Group, received the Business Leadership Award. Narev is also Chair of the Sydney Theatre Company, and he and his wife are personal financial supporters of both the ACO and STC.
‘Investing in the arts makes us a better business, for two reasons: number one, we are helping strengthen a critical part of the community. Strong communities need strong art sectors and we need a strong community. Number two, is how much better it makes us in this organisation through the partnerships. Our people are open to new ideas, they are open to different sorts of people, they are open to creative mindsets. They are open to different ways of expressing themselves, and therefore, as they come back and do their jobs or lead their teams, they are thinking in a different way, because of how they’ve been provoked by the arts. So it’s a classic partnership where we contribute to the community and in doing so, we get something back that makes us a better organisation.’Ian Narev.
Emerging Philanthropy Leadership Award winner Joseph O’Brien was recognised for his active support and advocacy of the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art.
‘Arts is really the soul of the community and really, to be able to make a meaningful contribution to that platform is really SO enjoyable.’ Joseph O’Brien
Sheena Boughen, pro bono CEO for Four Winds Bermagui for a decade, was awarded the Arts Leadership Award.
‘We didn’t want philanthropy to be linear. In fact, we were very clear that giving was the start of a relationship. The philanthropy continuum for us starts with a passion and a belief, and along the way, there are many gifts that people could give, ranging from cash to commitment to connections.’ Sheena Boughen
Heartfelt congratulations and thanks from AMPAG and the arts community go to all the award winners.