Robert Juniper Award: Shire of Mundaring to continue funding contribution

Annika Moses, the 2016 Robert Juniper Award for the Arts winner.
Annika Moses, the 2016 Robert Juniper Award for the Arts winner.

A RECOMMENDATION for the Shire of Mundaring to scrap funding for an arts scholarship was knocked back by councillors on Tuesday night.

Mundaring Bicentennial Scholarship Trust secretary Chris Durrant said since its inception 30 years ago the annual Robert Juniper Award for the Arts had kick started extraordinary careers for young musicians

“The Trust was established as a project to celebrate the Australian Bicentenary in 1988,” he said.

“Since then, the Shire of Mundaring has supported the awards with annual grants to supplement voluntary fundraising and donations.

“In that time we have given away nearly $135,000 worth of awards to 73 young residents who excel at their chosen art form whether that be visual arts, craft, performing arts, literature, film or music.”

Mr Durrant cited the many notable winners.

“More than 20 years ago the Trust awarded young Darlington guitarist Tim Van Der Kuil a scholarship to launch his career in the music industry,” he said.

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“Now based in London Tim is Adele’s guitarist and musical director and has performed and recorded with Robbie Williams, The Script, Taylor Swift, Moby, Delta Goodrem, and Tina Turner to name a few.

“Other recipients include conductor Tom Woods, ballet dancer Deanne Butterworth, stand-up comedian Chris Bedding and the most talented of all could well turn out to be last year’s award winner, the amazing Annika Moses.”

Ms Moses said as a result of the scholarship she had created a collaborative sound art installation with visual artist Shannon Lyons, to be exhibited at the Mundaring Arts Centre in July.

“This is the only award of its kind in the local area, being a scholarship rather than a prize awarded for a single piece, it’s the only award that funds and supports young artists to take on ambitious projects that would otherwise be impossible due to financial circumstances,” she said.

“Many young artists could be creating great work, but don’t have the tools to facilitate that, or the money to buy the tools.”

In the officers’ recommendation put to council, it was noted the funding should be discontinued because it provided an individual rather than a broader community benefit, and was not consistent with community sentiment that annual rate increases be kept as low as possible.

But Ms Moses said while the scholarship was only awarded to one recipient, the whole community benefitted, especially youth.

“I believe there is no greater gift to a young creative person, than to see another young artist participating and succeeding in the community,” she said.

“This scholarship is so important for those young artists.”

Mr Durrant said the Trust would likely fold if Shire funding was axed.

“The arts sector has recently experienced decreased funding support, particularly from the Department of Culture and the Arts,” he said.

“In today’s world, the value placed on the arts is being reduced instead of being revered for its essential place in the cultural fabric of our society.”

A Shire of Mundaring spokeswoman said councillors would consider donating $6962 to the scholarship in the 2017/2018 budget.