Youth Award an opportunity for young artists

May 4, 2021

A new category in the IHC Art Awards this year is giving young artists with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to win on a national stage.

The Youth Award is for entrants between 13 and 17 years. These artists are also eligible for the People’s Choice Award and the overall award.

Entries for the IHC Art Awards 2021 are now open. They close on 31 May and the gala awards night will be held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington on 30 September.

General Manager IHC Programmes Janine Stewart says the decision to introduce the new category is to ensure that up-and-coming artists are seen and celebrated.

“Every year we get hundreds of entries from established artists, including some who have exhibited around the world. This new category means even more artists will get to share their talent with artists and art lovers alike.”

Three prominent Auckland artists will judge the awards this year. Otis Frizzell, New Zealand’s highest-profile graffiti artist, returns for the third time. He will be joined by Judy Darragh and Paul Hartigan. Judy has been involved in the development of Auckland’s Artspace Aotearoa and artist-run spaces and has acted as mentor for many artists. Paul is best known for neon art and his large-scale public light works. Jewellery designer, vocalist and former IHC judge Boh Runga will MC the event.

The Holdsworth Charitable Trust has agreed to continue its longstanding sponsorship of the awards for another three years.

This year IHC Art Awards Ambassador Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet visited students at Opunake High School in March as part of her role to promote the awards and to encourage artists to enter. Later that month she visited The Papermill in Whāngārei, where artists with intellectual disabilities create handmade paper and art from natural and recycled materials.

The IHC Art Awards remains an annual highlight as a showcase for the talent and achievements of people with intellectual disabilities. Entries are open to New Zealanders aged 13 and over with an intellectual disability regardless of whether they use IHC, IDEA Services or Choices NZ services.

Further information on the IHC Art Awards, including entry criteria and how to enter your artwork, is available at

Caption: Becky Caughley, an artist at The Papermill, had an opportunity to meet Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet.