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Mundaring Bicentennial Scholarship Trust trustee Chris Durrant.

Awards open for last time

By Rebecca Peppiatt

HILLS artists can now nominate for one of the region’s most lucrative awards, in what could be the last time it’s up for grabs.

The prestigious Robert Juniper Award for the Arts (RJAA) had its funding axed by the Shire of Mundaring earlier this year, meaning this is likely to be the last time the award can be offered.

Trust Secretary Chris Durrant said he hoped the Shire would backtrack on its decision to pull the funding or that a sponsor would come on board.

“The Trust is able to raise a certain amount from its own fundraising events from Friends of the Trust, and from donations, but we would need an additional $7000 a year from somewhere else,” he said.

“Given the limited nature of the award, confined to those with an association with the Shire of Mundaring, it is not easy to attract commercial sponsors.

“They want to get some commercial bang for their bucks.”

The annual award is open to people under 35 years old that live, work or learn in the Shire of Mundaring and nominations are open until the end of the month.

Annika Moses is a past award recipient and said if the award is discontinued, it could be a huge blow to the local arts community.

“Receiving recognition, media coverage and local support for your work is really essential for artists, because without those things it can be very difficult to access the resources needed to sustain an arts practice,” she said.

“This award is exceptional however, because while other awards provide a small monetary prize for work already finished, the RJAA awards recipients with the funding to deliver a proposed project.

“For many recipients, their projects would have been impossible to undertake without the financial support of the RJAA.”

More than 78 individual scholarships with a total value of $174,000 have been awarded since 1988.

Recipients have included photographers, dancers, choreographers, conductors, composers, songwriters, singers, musicians from all genres, a stand-up comedian, actors, producers, an industrial designer, and a printmaker.

Ms Moses said winning the award was a huge boost to her career.

“Without the RJAA, I fear that young artists will have limited options to find resources and funding for larger scale projects,” she said.

“Receiving the RJAA was a huge kickstart for my career, and a huge learning opportunity that has given me invaluable skills and experience; I’d hope that those opportunities would continue to be available for young Hills artists.”

Applications are free  and close on 30 September via www.robertjuniperawardforthearts.org

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