Arts Access Award 2016: The wins that count.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

We are over the moon for the reception of the Arts for All Award, at The Arts Access Awards 2016.

It all started as a big experiment to try and take chamber music back to its original intent: a universal language that can bring people together.

The traditional concert hall is not an environment that suits everyone, especially people with intellectual disabilities. From this basic understanding, we started to explore alternative  avenues that brought us to the creation of our first workshops and “relaxed performances” for people with intellectual disabilities, in 2012. The following step was the introduction of touch tours and audio described concerts for blind and partially sighted patrons.

In 2016 we are once again teaming up with community musician, Julian Raphael, to present two Accessible Concerts with accompanying workshops in Hawke’s Bay and Christchurch.  Regional artists Marimba and Percussion Duo (Jeremy Fitzsimons and Yoshiko Tsuruta) will be joining Julian at both events.

Julian and the ensemble will work with groups from the Hohepa Communities and local specialist schools in the week leading up to the concert. Participation is a big part of these events;  trust-building and learning songs prior to the concerts, lead to a higher level of participation and an overall more relaxed environment.



Arts For All Award to Chamber Music New Zealand

Building new audiences by welcoming disabled people to its classical music concerts has made Chamber Music New Zealand a worthy recipient of the Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts for All Award 2016.
The Arts Access Awards 2016, celebrate the achievement of individuals and organisations providing opportunities for people with limited access to engage with the arts as artists and audience members. They also recognise the achievements of an artist with disability, sensory impairment or lived experience of mental illness.

The judging panel praised the commitment of Chamber Music New Zealand in providing a welcoming environment and responding to the accessibility needs of disabled people.  The relaxed performances, in particular, were considered “ground-breaking”.

Richard Benge, Executive Director of Arts Access Aotearoa, said that one in four people in New Zealand – more than one million – live with a disability or impairment.

“That’s a lot of people, who all have the right to enjoy the arts as artists, participants, audience members and gallery visitors,” he said. “Tonight, we celebrate the achievements and contribution of people and communities who make Aotearoa New Zealand a rich, diverse and creative country.”