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Carla Russell to receive Kiwibank Local Hero Award

We are delighted and extremely proud of our Executive Director Carla Russell who will be receiving a Kiwibank Local Hero Medal.

These medals aim to recognise and honour those who continue to use their passion to make NZ a better place at the grassroots level. Carla is dedicated to raising the profile of New Zealand art and her efforts from the last 16 years has been recognised by the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards committee.

Carla is dedicated to raising the profile of New Zealand art and her efforts from the last 16 years has been recognised by the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards committee.

It’s so great to see Carla’s passion and hard work in raising the profile of contemporary arts celebrated. Well done Carla!

Carla has been involved with the NZ Art show since its inception in 2004 and is the driving force behind the success of the country’s largest sale of original New Zealand art works. The show promotes a wide range of art with the aim of encouraging everyone to own original New Zealand art.

Carla’s fearless determination has been instrumental in producing a show that attracts 10,000 attendees annually and, over the course of its 16-year history, generated total sales of around $14.5 million. Carla is enormously proud that the show is accessible, affordable, and reputable as a true representative of New Zealand’s diverse and unique artistic community.

Taking New Zealand art to the people

Through her leadership Carla has enabled more than 4,000 NZ artists to exhibit their work to over 140,000 people. Carla’s focus on creating a relaxed and welcoming environment has helped give many artists the confidence to exhibit their work to the public for the first time:  many artists have also established full time careers as a direct result of the show. She has mentored many artists, providing advice and support when required.

Carla’s attention to detail and ability to put on a professional and extremely well run event have inspired other cities – Auckland, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin to run similar shows and Carla feels honoured that her ideas and processes have been replicated around the country in order for more art lovers to have better access to affordable New Zealand art.

Setting the bar high

Carla’s sharp business sense, boundless energy and endless fountain of ideas have shaped the course of the show since it began. Growing in popularity year on year the NZ Art Show’s success has been achieved without public funding:  indeed, the show has been cited by the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage as a prime example of a self-sustainable arts-based organisation.

Carla has contributed significantly to Wellington’s reputation as the cultural capital of NZ and her continuous dedication to the ongoing success of the show is undeniable and her passion to support NZ artists is always at the forefront of her decision making.

Whilst the show and the hub of its operations is based in Wellington, Carla is based in Taranaki with her husband and three young children, clear proof that a successful organisation can be run remotely.

We salute you, Carla Russell.

The NZ Art Show thanks the following businesses for their invaluable support: