A tutor who uses the arts to support prisoner rehabilitation and an Auckland authority which gifts prisoners’ art to the community have scooped the top prison art prizes at the Arts Access Awards. (July 29).

“Corrections congratulates all the winners of Arts Access Awards,” said Jeremy Lightfoot, National Commissioner.

“Corrections offers a broad range of arts programmes as constructive activities which can support prisoners’ rehabilitation and reintegration. Prison art teaches basic life skills. More than just developing creative skills, the classes teach teamwork, patience, discipline and perseverance.

Most prisoners are eventually released and it is in everyone’s interests that they become productive members of society.”

Award winners are:

Prison Arts Community Award 2014

Hibiscus and Bays Local Board, Auckland, (formerly North Shore City Council) received this award which recognised its outstanding contribution in working with Corrections and sponsoring community projects involving the gifting of prisoners’ carvings and artworks to schools, civic buildings and parks.

The judges commented: “The process of carving and gifting the work to the community is a transformative experience for the carvers at Auckland Prison and Northland Region Corrections Facility. This board is a fine model for other local councils.”

Donations of prisoner artwork to the community includes:

• artworks to the Auckland Starship Children’s Hospital
• six carved seats in Orewa’s Te Ara Tahuna walkway/cycleway
• two carving projects at Albany Junior High School
• carvings for the District Court at Albany

Prison Arts Leadership Award 2014

Sandra Harvey, prison art tutor and education facilitator at Northland Region Corrections Facility, received the award for her outstanding contribution in using the arts and education as a tool to support prisoner rehabilitation.
The judges commented: “Sandra’s vision for the arts programme at NRCF is stunning, and her commitment and achievements impressive. She has also engaged with the local community, provided pathways to education and employment, and artistic opportunities such as exhibitions.”

Sandra Harvey has been working at NRCF since 2010. In 2012 she won the contract to deliver the prison’s arts programme. She now works fulltime, employing a distance education facilitator and youth art tutor. Her role includes facilitating and supporting the prisoners’ studies as they work to gain qualifications in the visual arts. She has supported and organised a number of exhibitions of prisoner art in Auckland, Kerikeri and Whangarei. Sandra has also introduced artist workshops, where professional artists from the community come into the prison and run workshops with the prisoners.

Three Highly Commended certificates were awarded at the ceremony:Big A Award winners Sandra Harvey, Jason Carlyle and Wiki Turner

  • Jason Carlyle, Principal Case Manager from Christchurch, awarded for his significant contribution to prisoner art as one of the champions and a driving force behind an auction of prison art in 2012 that raised more than $20,000 for the Christchurch Mayoral Earthquake Relief fund. He invested many hours of his own time to make the auction a reality – from sourcing materials and collecting the artworks to providing motivation and encouragement, overseeing the catalogue process and delivering large pieces to purchasers.

    Following on from this success, Jason organised another prisoner art auction to support the Youth Alive Trust charity. All South Island prisoners had the opportunity to be involved, along with community-based offenders. The auction raised more than $15,000.

Tata Parata receiving the award on behalf of A3 Kaitiaki from Corrections Chief Executive, Ray Smith.

  • A3 Kaitiaki, a community service provider owned by Otakou Runanga, works with Otago Corrections Facility and Dunedin Probation Services to deliver a tikanga programme for Mâori offenders. This programme is grounded in tikanga, whakapapa and identity, and includes Mâori arts such as kapa haka (performance), mau rakau (martial arts), taonga puoro (traditional Maori music) and kôhatu painting.
  • Wiki Turner, (Tuwharetoa, Ngati Hine), tikanga provider at Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison, says harakeke (flax) and mahi raranga (weaving) teach the men about family bonds and human relationships. They also teach them about the environment and kaitiaki tanga (guardianship and protection).

    Wiki has been teaching weaving for more than 35 years.  In June 2014, Wiki organised an exhibition called Tauparapara, which featured paintings, carvings and weaving by 20 prisoners. Money raised from the sales of artwork was donated to Victim Support.