Sondi who has been instrumental in the success of emerging jewellers through her mentorship over a number of years, Sondi’s world is a kaleidoscope of inspiration and her passion is people and art. Her career spans over 30 years and her work marries the unique qualities of metals with jewellery skills honed through practice, experimentation and learning from others. She is inspired by her environment, her community of jewellers, her students, other artisans and is influenced by timeless designers. Sondi has provided much for the Blue Mountains community through her volunteer work with numerous arts organisations. She thoroughly deserves this award and recognition for her numerous years of hard work and commitment to the community.
Collaborative Music Video Project
‘Budyarimaba’ (Make Good Future) is a collaborative music video project, which was chosen by the Panel as it demonstrates the power of creative arts leadership. It utilised working artists Johanna Clancy, Chris Tobin, Jacinta Tobin and Sean O’Keeffe, together with a team of over Katoomba High School students who were mentored to create the film, as well as develop their cultural, creative and collaborative practices. Through storytelling, choreography and song-writing the students explored ideas around identity and connection to place.
Event coordinator, live music promoter and graphic artist
Actor and tutor
Claire Jones has been chosen for her an impressive record as an enabler of theatre and theatrical practitioners in the mountains and nationally, including many world premiers of new Australian works. Claire is a professional actor and has been involved in over 50 productions. In 2003 she founded Green Room to support and promote the work of local scriptwriters. As the Weatherboard Theatre President, Claire leads activities, which support both artists and audiences through competitions, recordings, workshops and performances. She is inspired to find meaning and connection by enabling Blue Mountains voices – playwrights and actors – to be heard.
Visual artist & printmaker
From an impressive list of visual artists, Freedom has been chosen for her entrepreneurial initiative in developing Laughing Bird Print Studio. She is an adaptable contemporary artist, and Freedom’s Studio supports tourism and creative industries in the Blue Mountains, with a passionate interest in conservation and discuss the complex habitats and the relationships between plants, animals and micro-organisms in Australia’s natural wilderness. Her investigative drawing is on location and the basis of her print designs are upscale tiny plants and fungus transformed into larger heroic images. Most recently she has been searching for the threatened Diuris aequalis orchid with ecologist Anna Murphy. As they search, they discuss the complex habitats and the relationships between plants, animals and micro-organisms.
Margaret Hamilton AM
Writer & publisher
Margaret Hamilton AM is a recognised leader in children’s literature. She has had many years’ experience with children’s books, as a children’s librarian, bookseller, publisher and a parent. Margaret has been involved with the Children’s Book Council of Australia for many years and is a former Deputy Chair of the National Board. Margaret Hamilton Books philosophy is ‘that children have a right to the best of everything, especially books’. Margaret has continued to tirelessly promote and advance children’s literature, most recently through the program of Illustrator workshops at Pinerolo. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2008 ‘for service to the arts through the promotion of children’s literature and literacy and through support for authors and illustrators’.
Dr Carol Major
Writer, teacher & mentor
Dr Carol Major has a distinguished career in creative writing leadership as an innovative creative writing teacher and has developed a community college course for non-English speaking background people to explore cross-cultural understandings of idioms and metaphor. Carol’s short stories and essays have been published in leading literary magazines in Australia and overseas. She has earned recognition, not just for her own writing, but for her long-standing and innovative commitment to mentorship and writer development. At Varuna, Australia’s National Writers House, Carol has mentored the executive teams to ensure that the vision of discovering and supporting fresh voices continues. Carol has also assisted Blue Mountain writers, musicians and artists in writing narratives for exhibitions and applying for grants.
Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains
Modern Art Project Blue Mountains for its longstanding community engagement and support for the growth of the contemporary multi-form art and engagement with critical art appreciation and arts-events through artistic residencies, symposia and workshops in the Blue Mountains and beyond. MAPBM are commended for their continuing programs rather than one off events. Their role in professional development of contemporary artists includes organising curatorial and artistic residencies, holding symposia and workshops, organising studio visits and show and tell sessions. Since its formation in 2014, MAPBM has delivered nearly 40 successful projects, attracting over 7,000 attendances, and providing exhibition and professional development opportunities for hundreds of artists.