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One of Australia’s most successful high-profile business arts partnerships – between BHP Billiton and the South Australian Youth Arts Board – won the inaugural Australia Council Arts for Young People award at the October 25 national AbaF awards event.

South Australian children and young people are the focus of the winning four-year, $1 million partnership, which builds on and expands existing programs to deliver a comprehensive suite of arts experiences for children across South Australia. The programs target young people throughout South Australia, with an emphasis on regional areas and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Examples of the many programs the partnership supports are: ‘Artists in schools’, which brings students face to face with practicing artists; ‘Playfull’, a program of live performances in schools; ‘D’Faces of Youth Arts’, a youth arts company in South Australia; and the biennial ‘Come Out’ Australian Festival for Young People, which is the largest and longest running arts festival for children and young people in the Southern Hemisphere.

Australia Council for the Arts chief executive Kathy Keele who presented the award at last night’s event said, ‘The future of Australia and the future of the Australian arts both depend on the kinds of investments we make in our young people today.’

‘Creating opportunities for young Australians to get involved in the arts is key to ensuring their ongoing participation and enjoyment throughout life.

The Australia Council Arts for Young People award honours business arts partnerships that enrich the lives of young Australians through engagement with and participation in the arts.

Runners up for the award were partnerships between Rio Tinto WA Future Fund and State Library of Western Australia and Shell Geelong Refinery and Geelong Gallery.

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