Musica Viva CEO honoured for arts leadership

Mary Jo Capps, CEO of Musica Viva Australia, has been honoured for her arts leadership at the Creative Partnerships Awards held this week in Sydney.

Musica Viva CEO honoured for arts leadership


The awards recognise those who have fostered enduring partnerships between the cultural and private sectors and encouraged the spirit of giving to the arts.

Private support for the arts has almost doubled in the past ten years, increasing by 98 per cent to $221 million.

It now accounts for 10 per cent of all arts funding in Australia with cultural and creative activity contributing $86 billion (6.9%) to the country’s GDP every year.

‘Everyone has come to realise,’ Mary Jo Capps said, ‘that … the private sector working with the arts is enabling both parties to reach a dream that they couldn’t do on their own.’

Four awards were presented at the ceremony—Sydney’s Peter Wilson received the Emerging Philanthropy Leadership Award, Julieanne Alroe and Richard Goyder AO shared the Business Arts Leadership Award, Mary Jo Capps received the Arts Leadership Award and Naomi Milgrom AO received the Philanthropy Leadership Award.

The winner of the Emerging Philanthropy Leadership Award, Peter Wilson, is a Board Member of Belvoir, as well as being chair of Playwriting Australia.Richard Goyder AO, joint winner of the Creative Partnership Australia Business Leadership Award isManaging Director of Wesfarmers, West Australian Symphony Orchestra's and WestAustralian Opera's Principal Partner and West Australian Ballet's Lead Partner.

The Arts Leadership Award is for ‘an individual working in the arts and cultural sector who through their leadership, advocacy, practice and example has made an exceptional contribution to Australia’s cultural life; demonstrating vision, commercial acumen and strategic thinking in their engagement with donors and business, an encouraging increased giving to the arts’.

Mary Jo Capps has worked in the Australian cultural industry for more than 30 years after graduating with an MA in Musicology from the University of Toronto.

In 1999 she was appointed CEO of Musica Viva Australia, where she continues to champion music education.

‘Despite all the evidence and advocacy of the past 30 years and more, approximately 80 per cent of Australian children still do not receive a music education program that is rich in its resources, broad in its scope, and lasting in its impact, taught by people who are equipped with specialist knowledge,’ she said.

‘It is the right of every child to have access to quality music at every stage of their development.’

Since Musica Viva In Schools began in 1981, it has reached over 7 million children across Australia and is the largest private provider of music education program in Australian classrooms.

In 2013 Musica Viva musicians travelled over 120,000 kilometres to deliver music education programs to over 260,000 students through 1,700 concerts, workshops and residencies as well as providing to thousands of teachers.

At the awards ceremony Minister for the Arts, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, congratulated the recipients: ‘They are inspirational leaders whose achievements exemplify the benefits of strong, mutual partnerships between the artistic and private sectors.

‘I thank each of the winners for their exceptional contributions to Australia’s cultural life.’

In 2010, Mary Jo became the first female President of the Sydney Business Chamber since it was founded in 1825. She is currently Chair of the Advisory Board of the Faculty of the VCA and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, a Board Director of the Community Council of Australia, Green Music Australia and of the Peggy Glanville Hicks Trust, and a Council member of the Centre for Social Impact. She works as a professional mentor and is actively engaged in supporting emerging talent, particularly in arts administration.

Photo LtoR: Fiona Menzies (CEO, Creative Partnerships Australia), Naomi Milgrom, Minister Mitch Fifield, Peter Wilson, Mary Jo Capps, Julieanne Alroe


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