Tim and Gina Fairfax are among six leaders from Australia’s philanthropic, business and arts sectors recognised for their generous contributions to Australian culture, Andrew Sadauskas reports.
Creative Partnerships Australia has recognised the outstanding leadership, advocacy and continuing commitment of six leading Australian arts patrons at its third annual award event in Sydney.
The Creative Partnerships Awards recognise the vital role private sector funders play in supporting Australian culture, and continue the decade-long legacy of the Australian Business Arts Foundation Awards.
The candidates were nominated by the general public across the categories of arts leadership, business leadership, emerging philanthropist and philanthropy leadership, with the winners chosen by the board of Creative Partnerships Australia.
Tim and Gina Fairfax won the philanthropy leadership award in recognition of their family’s longstanding commitment to arts philanthropy, with their Tim Fairfax Family Foundation donating hundreds of millions of dollars to galleries and foundations over the past 50 years.
Fini Group and Perth International Arts Festival director Adrian Fini claimed the prestigious business leadership award, with the property developer having recently donated $150,000 to the Perth International Arts Festival to fund new arts programs.
Neilson Foundation trustee Beau Neilson and the managing director of bookstore chain Readings, Mark Rubbo, were named the joint winners in the emerging philanthropy leadership category.
Neilson’s contributions include generous gifts to Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Sydney Dance Company, while the Readings Foundation has donated more than $700,000 to community and school programs over the past five years.
The event also recognised Victorian Opera founding music director and conductor emeritus Richard Gill for his arts leadership through his tireless advocacy of music education and his work in teaching young musicians both in Australia and abroad.
Fini said he sees art as an opportunity to create and assist giving people – the citizens of Perth – identity. “Art strengthens communities and tourism. It’s a fantastic medium to use in urban renewal and regeneration.”
“Across all our businesses, we’ve always made sure we have an arts objective and a cultural program, because I believe that if we can grow the civic and cultural engagement around the projects we’re involved with, we’ve got a better community,” Fini said.
“Having the involvement of the arts and artists is a fantastic way of leading urban regeneration. Having that level of inquiry and stimulation, seeing the innovation that artists bring to their medium or their discussion, opens people’s minds.
“For me, it’s not about supporting only the visual arts. I want to ensure that we have cultural events, that our festival grows, and that we have a successful local theatre company that can perform at national and international standard.”
Creative Partnerships Australia CEO Fiona Menzies said a vibrant, sustainable and diverse arts culture requires enduring support from all levels of government, business and individuals who share a vision and passion for the arts.
“Each of the winners for this year’s awards have been selected not only for their contribution to arts partnerships, but also because of their passion for the arts and their desire to encourage others to share in that passion. I congratulate them on their commitment and leadership in supporting the arts,” Menzies said.