2007 Recipient - Dame Jenny Gibbs

As a philanthropist and art collector Dame Jenny Gibbs' influence on raising the profile of New Zealand art internationally, and within New Zealand, particularly Auckland, has been immense. Jenny has demonstrated her commitment to the arts through leadership of numerous arts projects with her most ambitious personal undertakings being the establishment of the New Gallery for Auckland Art Gallery and supporting New Zealand's presence at the Venice Biennale.

Jenny has had many important roles including Founder and Chair of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery and the Auckland Contemporary Arts Trust, Founding Trustee of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand, Foundation Donor and Board Member of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and as a long time member of the prestigious International Council ofthe Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her enthusiasm and passion for the arts also sees Jenny as a Founding Patron and significant donor tomany arts organisations and a supporter of private individuals. She provides significant support to the arts through permitting the use ofher home in Auckland for advocacy and social functions. In 2004 her contributions to the Auckland region were acknowledged when she received the second Auckland City Distinguished Citizen Award.  She is widely recognised as one of this country's most comprehensive private collectors.

In addition to supporting the arts, Jenny is Pro-Chancellor of the University of Auckland and has been on the Auckland University Council almost continuously since 1976.  She is a founding Trustee of both the Auckland Medical School Foundation and Auckland University Foundation. She supports many other charitable organisations and is an active member of various civic organisations such as the New Zealand Institute and the Committee for Auckland.

Jill Ralston interviewed Dame Jenny Gibbs in an article titled Art for Art's Sake for the New Zealand Listener at the time of the Award for Patronage announcements.

"This donation is an extraordinary gift from an extraordinary woman.  If any person can be singled out as the most constant champion of contemporary art in New Zealand over the past 45 years it would have to be Jenny Gibbs.  Not only am I the fortunate receiver of her largesse tonight, but for over 30 years Jenny has collected my paintings, regularly adding to her collection.  This kind of art patronage is rare to find in any country.  This kind of art patronage requires a commitment and belief in the value of art and an understanding of the need to nurture and support artists in our culture. She is one of our Living Treasures and I feel deeply moved in accepting such a generous gift." 

- Gretchen Albrecht  honours Dame Jenny Gibbs at the 2007 Award for Patronage ceremony 


Donald Trott (NZ Opera School), Gretchen Albrecht (visual artist), Michael Moynahan (Auckland Writers & Readers Festival) and Brian Butler (ARTSPACE) with Dame Jenny Gibbs, Award for Patronage ceremony 2007.