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Backing artists to make their mark, the Arts Foundation was established in 1998 to honour extraordinary New Zealand artists.

Backing artists to make their mark, the Arts Foundation exists to boost opportunities for artists and amplify their impact. We launched in 2000, and represent a collective of arts supporters who believe the arts are integral to a thriving Aotearoa New Zealand. As well as giving financial gifts to New Zealand’s most outstanding artists, we then set out to tell New Zealanders all about it – raising the arts on the national agenda and championing creativity for all.

Over the past twenty-three years, our generous community of arts lovers have gifted 311 outstanding artists right around Aotearoa New Zealand, with awards totalling $9 million and Boosted givers haven given over $12 million to artists or arts organisations through our crowdfunding website, totalling over $21 million towards amplifying the arts.

The Arts Foundation’s major awards, the Icons, Laureates and recently Springboard celebrate New Zealand’s most outstanding artists in literature, dance and choreography, film, visual arts, theatre and performance, music, composing and multi-disciplinary and inter-arts.

We also partner with major families or groups to help them select, nurture and execute some of New Zealand’s major residencies, The Harriet Friedlander New York Residency and the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship.

Our awards include:

Up to 10 Laureates a year – a $35,000 tax-free gift awarded to outstanding artists who are having an impact on New Zealand. These awards are sustained by long-term givers who committed for ten years or endowed for perpetuity. For example: the My Art Award for Visual Arts gifted by Sonja and Glenn Hawkins, Te Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa Award thanks to Jillian Friedlander, the Toi Kō Iriiri Award for an Outstanding Queer Artist gifted by Hall Cannon, the Burr/Tatham Award thanks to Adrian Burr and his late partner Peter Tatham, the Sir Roger Hall Award for Theatre, the Theresa Gattung Award for a Senior Female Artist, the Dame Gaylene Preston Award for a Documentary Film Maker (supported by the NZ Film Commission, NZ International Film Festival and Vista International), the Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award, the Marti Friendlander Photographic Award, and the John and Jo Gow Sculpture Award.

Up to 10 Springboards a year – Each funded by a giver for at least three years, this award consists of a $15,000 funding package awarded to outstanding artists who've shown potential and are kickstarting a career in the arts. They are matched to a past Arts Foundation award recipient who is paid to mentor them for a year.

The Icons, Whakamana – a living circle of 20 of New Zealand’s most significant artists, awarded for their extraordinary lifetime achievements and mark on the arts.

Partnership Awards – We administrate several endowed awards, including the Harriet Friedlander Residency and the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship.

Boosted.org.nz - In 2013 we launched Boosted, New Zealand’s only arts crowdfunding platform. Boosted crowdfunding campaigns have an 86% success rate, and the platform has raised over $12 million for art projects since its launch.

We’re governed by up to 11 trustees from around the country leading a collective movement to back artists to make their mark on New Zealand. From Bluff to Kaitaia, art makes life better for thousands of New Zealanders, fuelling wellbeing, identity, creativity and economic growth. Join a national movement backing art for all in Aotearoa.

Leave your mark on the arts