Creative Partnership Awards – recognising the arts leaders, philanthropists and partners advancing Australia’s arts sector

Creative-Partnership-Awards-2020Creative Partnerships Australia have announced the nine luminary recipients of the 2020 Creative Partnerships Awards.

The Awards recognise remarkable individuals who have devoted years, decades and generations to supporting Australian culture and enabling Australian audiences to access and experience the arts. The 2020 Creative Partnerships Awards recipients are:

  • Emerging Philanthropist Award – Alexandra Burt
  • Arts Leadership Award – Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield AO
  • Business Leadership Award – Andy Penn
  • Philanthropy Leadership Award – Maureen Wheeler AO and Tony Wheeler AO
  • Arts Visionary Award – joint recipients: S Baillieu Myer AC and Sarah Myer; and Lady Potter AC

“The Creative Partnerships Australia Awards are an important opportunity to recognise the generosity, advocacy and leadership of philanthropists who champion arts in Australia,” said Senator The Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts.

“Private investment in the arts is of vital importance as the sector recovers from the impacts of COVID-19 and builds on the Government’s investment of almost $800 million of support to help restart the sector on top of the $750 million in annual Commonwealth arts funding. On behalf of the Morrison Government, I would like to extend my gratitude and congratulations to all the Award recipients,” said Minister Fletcher.

Creative Partnerships Australia CEO Fiona Menzies explained the Awards recipients are invested in developing the arts for everyone, “Every year it is humbling to see how many passionate supporters of the arts there are, and this year is no exception,” she said.

“This year’s Award recipients all have a deep understanding of how arts and culture are an integral part of people’s lives and their contributions are both about supporting excellence and ensuring that all Australians can access and enjoy the arts. In each case, they are not only generous supporters themselves, but are champions for the arts and encourage others to join them,” said Ms Menzies.

Alexandra Burt has been leading by example, making an exceptional contribution to the West Australian Ballet as the Patron of Giving, the West Australian Opera, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Venice Biennale, amongst other organisations.

Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield AO are two outstanding individuals, who separately and together have made a significant contribution to the arts. Through their partnership leading the Adelaide Festival, they have realised a substantial increase in philanthropic funding and business sponsorship, allowing them to develop and deliver ambitious artistic programs which has driven a significant increase in attendance to the festival.

Andy Penn leads a company that has supported the arts over many years. Telstra has supported the Australian Ballet for over 35 years and the NATSIAAs (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards) for over 28 years. Telstra is also an advocate for new cultural support, including a technology partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria.

Maureen Wheeler AO and Tony Wheeler AO are a visionary couple who were instrumental in supporting Opera Australia to bring The Ring Cycle to Melbourne. They have also supported Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne Festival, Malthouse Theatre and Melbourne Fringe. Most notably, they have cemented the reputation of Melbourne as a city of books, writing and ideas through the creation of the Wheeler Centre.

S Baillieu Myer AC and Sarah Myer have nurtured a legacy of generous and wide-ranging philanthropy as well as inspiring and motivating the generations who follow them. They are at the forefront of philanthropic giving in Australia, pioneering a style of philanthropy that was transformative and capacity building, enriching Australia’s cultural life. They have also supported the Myer Music Bowl, Arts Centre Melbourne, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Grafton Regional Gallery, the Australian Tapestry Workshop, McClelland Sculpture Park and many other cultural institutions.

Lady Primrose Potter AC has led individual giving to the arts through her roles with numerous organisations, and through her determination has enlisted the support of equally passionate art lovers. She was a founding member of the Bell Shakespeare Company, Patron in Chief of the Melbourne Opera and Director of the Museum Potter Museum of Art. She was also President Annual Giving Program with the Australian Ballet, whose headquarters is named in her honour following large contributions over many years.

Creative Partnerships Awards
Creative Partnerships Australia has led the Creative Partnerships Awards since 2013, embracing the legacy of the Australian Business Arts Foundation Awards, which celebrated excellence in partnerships and private sector support to the arts for more than a decade.

The Award recipients advocate and champion passionately for the arts and demonstrate qualities of inspiring leadership – they strengthen and enrich the creative sector through their generosity and commitment.

The Emerging Philanthropist Award is presented to a new philanthropist whose leadership and contribution to the arts is shaping the future of philanthropy and private giving in Australia’s cultural sector.

The Arts Leadership Award is given to advocates working within the arts and cultural sector who have demonstrated a sound vision, commercial acumen and strategic thinking through their engagement with donors and business by encouraging increased giving to the Australian arts sector.

The Business Leadership Award is given to someone from the business sector who, through their leadership and advocacy, has made an exceptional contribution to Australia’s cultural life by fostering investment in and engagement with the arts.

The Philanthropy Leadership Award is bestowed on an individual, family, group or foundation that through their leadership, advocacy, practice and example has contributed significantly to the arts and encouraged philanthropic giving to the arts.

The Arts Visionary Award was introduced in 2019 and is presented to an individual, family, group or foundation who has made a significant contribution to the arts over a period of time and enabled new arts projects that would not have been possible without philanthropic support.

Creative Partnerships Australia
Creative Partnerships Australia sparks investment in the arts by fostering giving and partnerships that brings together donors, businesses, artists and arts organisations to maintain a vibrant, robust and sustainable arts sector for the benefit of all Australians.

Creative Partnerships Australia aims to grow the culture of giving, investment, partnership and volunteering as well as equip artists and arts organisations with the fundraising and development skills to succeed.

Creative Partnerships Australia invest in the professional and business development of the cultural sector to maximise partnership potential and long-term growth; by working with philanthropists and businesses to facilitate and champion arts partnerships and investment; and through matched funding programs for artists and arts organisations.

Committed to expanding the culture of giving and volunteering to help maintain a thriving creative sector across the nation, last year Creative Partnerships Australia revealed that a vital backing for the arts in Australia included $608 million private sector support and that new donors that give to the arts are growing.

For more information about Creative Partnerships Australia and the Creative Partnerships Awards, visit: for details.

Image: Alexandra Burt, Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy (photo by Shane Reid), Andy Penn (photo by James Braund), Maureen Wheeler AO and Tony Wheeler AO, S Baillieu Myer AC and Sarah Myer and Lady Potter AC (supplied)