$10,000 Access Arts 2017 Achievement Award Winner Announced

17th October, 2017
Peter Vance, Di Farmer MP, Cindy Ranger, Freya Toussaint and Pat Swell
(L-R) Peter Vance, Di Farmer MP, Cindy Ranger, Freya Toussaint and Pat Swell

The winner of the Access Arts Achievement Award for 2017 was announced on Friday evening by Di Farmer MP representing the Premier and Minister for the Arts the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk, and singer-songwriter Peter Vance, at the Opening Night of Undercover Artist Festival 2017 at Queensland Theatre.

Freya Toussaint was selected by an esteemed panel of judges as recipient of this year’s award. Toussaint is a young emerging artist whose current practice is focused on printmaking. The Award will empower Toussaint to establish an arts collective of young creatives named ‘Arts for Art’s Sake’,
who will together develop their practice and then showcase their artwork in a final exhibition. This new collective is a testament to Freya’s creative spirit. The project is called the “Ripple Effect”, as one small change will have an enormous impact. The Access Arts Achievement Award provides up to $10,000 funding for Queensland artists, arts workers and producers with disability working in any artform to create, develop, present, produce, exhibit and/or tour their work.

Applications were received from all over Queensland. The assessment criteria were based on the project’s artistic and/or cultural merit and innovation, opportunity for professional development and viability.

Access Arts Chief Executive Pat Swell said: “Freya Toussaint has won the award from among a very field of entries. The Award has been a turning point in the careers for each of the Awardwinners, I have no doubt it will make a significant change for Freya in helping her to take her practice to the next level. I am delighted such a talented artist is this year’s Award-winner.

The distinguished panel of judges for the $10,000 Access Arts Achievement Award 2017 were:

  • Liz Crawford (National Practice Leader, KPMG)
  • Cunningham (Visual Arts – QAGOMA, Assistant Director Development and Commercial Services)
  • Tony Dee (Performing Artist)
  • Katie Woods (Literature – CEO of Queensland Writers Centre)
  • Suellen Maunder (Performing Arts – AD/CEO JUTE Theatre Company, Cairns).

In 2016, 18-year-old Alexander Procopis was the winner of the Access Arts Achievement Award which enabled him to work with renowned artist Tichawona Noble Mashawa to develop a 12-minute ‘elephant whispering’ symphony and video that included singing to the elephants at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney.

Access Arts is passionate about pioneering opportunities for people who experience disability or disadvantage to excel in the arts. One in five Australians live with disability; many more are unable to participate in the arts due to disadvantaged circumstances.

This is the fourth year of the Awards which started in 2014, made possible by the generosity of Access Arts Life Member, Peter Vance. The Award provides funding for Queensland artists, arts workers and producers with disability working in any artform to create, present and potentially tour their work.

It is fitting that the Award was presented at the opening of the Undercover Artist Festival, followed by JUTE Theatre’s production of Here We All Are, Assembled. This production was the result of Cairns-based performer Doug Robins winning our inaugural $10,000 Access Arts Achievement Award in 2014.

It was also a night to celebrate Access Arts receiving the 2017 Mental Health Week Achievement Award in the category of Not for Profit Award SME (1-100 staff). These Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals, groups, organisations and businesses who are devoted to
improving the understanding and awareness of mental health and wellbeing right across Queensland.