Supporting young artists
by James Poyner
4th September 2023
A CELEBRATION of the next generation of artistic talent saw friends and family gather recently at the Warrandyte Community Centre for the 2023 Warrandyte Arts & Education Trust’s Youth Arts Award.
This biennial event is a chance for the Trust to support an aspiring artist with a significant financial contribution of $10,000.
The money for this award was funded solely with profits from Warrandyte Diary’s newspapers (Warrandyte Diary and Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin), which means advertising in the Warrandyte Diary and Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin, by extension, supports a young Warrandyte artist.
The evening’s guest speaker was Yarra Ward Councillor and teacher Carli Lange, who spoke about Warrandyte as “the home of the artist” and the importance of nurturing artistic endeavours in today’s youth.
“We are here, this evening, supporting young artists through this community arts award.
“We are actively encouraging young artists in their endeavours while experiencing the enjoyment of their art from a young person’s perspective, and that is one of the best perspectives to have.
“You have made an incredible success, and you are incredible, every one of you.
“You took the courage to nominate yourselves to go through and express your ideas and your heart through an expressive and creative art form.
“With joy, we say what an outstanding achievement you have made in the expressive field you have chosen.
“You are an incredible example to young artists in our community, and tonight is a tribute to each one of you.
“Youth community arts awards like this one provide a vital role in providing opportunities for young people to engage with the arts and develop their skills and talents.
“I am honoured to be here tonight, I can see the work, the journey, of young, professional artists, and I am honoured to be celebrating, joining in, and embracing their wonderful sense of the world, because we are all the better for it.
“You, as young people, as young artists, are vital to our community’s longevity and sustainability and to the arts, and with joy, I say congratulations,” said Cr Lange.
Since 1989, the award has helped talented artists such as Bridgett Liddell, Gabrielle Davidson, Peter Daverington, Loughlan Prior, and Ruby Martin. Now, we can add and celebrate Bridie Frances and Agnieshka Markwell to this list of recipients. Bridie and Agnieshka shared the $10,000 prize, taking home $5,000 each.
Bridie and Agnieshka were two of five finalists who were met and assessed by up to three talented experts in the young artists’ discipline.
Bridie, a singer/songwriter who listed amongst her influences Ruby Fields, Jack River, Missy Higgins, Gang of Youths, Slowly Slowly, and Spacey Jane, met with her musical mentors Heather Jamieson, Cath Rutten, and Lisa Young for her assessments.
Bridie’s assessors said:
“Bridie has a strong sense of the sound and artistic qualities that she is aiming for.
Despite her age, she is, in the truest sense, an artist moving very authentically towards her own sound.
Her dedication and love of all aspects of music is commendable.
Her volunteer work, songwriting, and singing show her experience and creativity.
Bridie is a warm and passionate young musician, committed to recording and performing her original works and working in other music industry roles.”
Agnieshka is an opera singer and listed Amy Manford, an Australian-American soprano singer, among her influences.
Her assessors, Carrie Barr, Jamie Moffat, and Nina Korbe, described her passion as:
“Agnieshka’s voice is very lovely, with her technique developing well. I was impressed with the vocal maturity in one so young.
She showed musicality in expression and connection to the text, good range, extensions, nice stagecraft and facial expressions communicating her character.
I am confident that Agnieshka has great potential, and if her training and career are correctly guided, she will emerge as a very fine singer.
She has an unusually strong connection with the music she sings, which is rare for someone so young, and I am impressed by her musical intelligence.
Agnieshka has a sweet, warm, youthful tone with a good sense of line and poise.
Her natural musical instincts and diverse experience in her career so far have served her well.”
After the award presentation, the Diary spoke with both Bridie and Agnieshka about what winning the award means to them.
Both recipients spoke about the excellent opportunity to meet with and be mentored by talented artists and experts in their preferred artistic discipline.
“Just talking with them, asking for advice about my future, and getting their advice on my performance was just incredible — that process alone was enough,” said Agnieshka.
Agnieshka will use the $5,000 prize to help give her a chance to study at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
“The whole thing is just awesome,” said Bridie.
“Even this event, just being able to meet all the other finalists.
“There are so many people in the music and arts community in Warrandyte, and they all have so much talent and knowledge to give, so it is just amazing to be able to recognise that as well.”
Bridie went on to say she would use her share of the prize to book some studio time and record an EP. The Diary would also like to congratulate the other finalists, Isabel Khong (painting — abstract, contemporary and surreal), Eddie O’Rourke (monochromatic figure drawing), and Ariel Price (painting — nature, buildings, people), for going through the assessment process.
The Warrandyte Arts & Education Trust Youth Arts Award will return in 2025.