September 11, 2008

I will take my arts to go please! wins AbaF Award

An ongoing partnership between Regional Arts Victoria (RAV) and Alcoa of Australia has won the Qantaslink Regional Award in the 2008 Victorian Australian Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) Awards and has been selected as a National Finalist for the Australia Council Arts for Young People Award.

The highly prestigious AbaF Awards recognises excellence in private sector-arts relationships. AbaF held the Victorian awards last night in Melbourne with RAV and Alcoa of Australia named winners of the QantasLink Regional Award in Victoria and National Finalists for the Australia Council Arts for Young People Award.

Alcoa of Australia’s Victorian Operations General Manager Arnaud Soirat said it was the partners’ shared vision for community access to the arts in regional Victoria that has led to the success of the three year partnership.

“The partnership supports RAV’s arts2GO program, the largest in-schools touring program in Victoria, in its aim to provide equitable access to high-quality arts and cultural experiences for students, Mr Soirat said.

The arts2GO Schools Touring Program reaches 65,000 regional students in over 600 performances in more than 400 Victorian schools each year. The partnership has facilitated the creation of innovative new works, which in turn support Victorian artists to pursue excellence in this field.

Each year, RAV’s arts2GO program provides schools in Alcoa’s main operating areas in Victoria, Point Henry (Geelong), Anglesea and Portland, with a free performance or workshop. This enables schools which might not otherwise be able to afford incursions the ability to offer students a unique arts and cultural experience. In addition, a special project is held each year to engage the community at a deeper level.

Although Alcoa of Australia and Regional Arts Victoria have received the award, the real winners are the regional school children who benefited from the program.

Mr Soirat states that: “As a predominantly regional employer and operator, Alcoa is committed to the long-term sustainability of the communities where we live and work. We believe creativity strengthens communities, making them more vibrant places to live and work. Alcoa’s support for the arts is focused around enhancing creativity in our community and making access to the arts a possibility for all.”

Regional Arts Victoria CEO Lindy Allen said the secret to the success of the partnership was the vision both organisations shared for the local community.

“Regional Arts Victoria believes quality arts experiences should be available for all Victorians” said Ms Allen.
 
“Partnerships like this one enable participation on many levels, and ultimately, make the process a lot more fun. This partnership is an excellent vehicle for artists and for industry. These new and broader community relationships are testimony to the value of this type of investment for industry partners and the rewards for our audiences in regional Victoria”.

The partnership will now go into the running to win the National QantasLink Regional Award and the Australia Council Arts for Young People Award which will be announced on Thursday 16th October in Melbourne.

The AbaF Awards honour the most innovative and beneficial private sector-arts relationships and leaders who have created inspirational examples of engagement between the private sector and the arts. For more information visit www.abaf.org.au

Background

Alcoa of Australia’s sponsorship of RAV’s arts2GO program is a benchmark example of excellence in business community partnerships.

The arts2GO Schools Touring Program reaches 65,000 regional students in over 600 performances in Victorian schools each year. arts2GO tours the best of Australian theatre, dance, music, literature and multicultural arts for young people to over 400 schools annually and the outreach is extensive: arts2GO regularly tours to Portland, Murrayville, Walpeup, Albury-Wodonga, Orbost, Sale, and most of the small towns in between. It is well-documented that more than twice as many young people are reached through performances for schools’ audiences as through other performances (Australia Council, 2002). Theatre experiences in schools are critical for young Victorians’ access and engagement with the arts. Alcoa have joined RAV as an Outreach Partner to support arts2GO continues this vital educational work.