I believe you can never have too many individuals or organisations championing the arts. Champions can be sponsors, patrons and financial partners, they can be audiences and customers or they can be advocates – people prepared to promote art in all its forms to their networks. In the past few weeks we have met and honoured some of the many literary champions of Western Australia.
On 13 October we held our second Fremantle Press Champions of Literature event for the year. The Champions of Literature were inaugurated in 2016 – our 40th year – with 29 people signing up to raise $25,000, which was doubled by the Creative Partnerships Australia Plus One program. Funds raised by the Champions go towards our core activity – publishing the works of new and emerging Western Australian writers and artists. Each year one of these publications is dedicated to the Champions: in 2016 this was The Sound by Sarah Drummond and this year it was Bad to Worse by Robert Edeson.
Robert Edeson’s first book, The Weaver Fish, was a T.A.G. Hungerford Award winner, which brings me to another champion of literature – the City of Fremantle. On 24 October, I was thrilled to be at the Heath Ledger Theatre when the Honourable David Templeman, Minister for Culture and the Arts, presented the City of Fremantle with a State Arts and Culture Partnership Honour in the Arts Development Category for its commitment to the City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford Award. The honours acknowledge the outstanding contributions of individual philanthropists and businesses who partner with arts and cultural organisations across Western Australia. In congratulating the honourees, Minister Templeman said: ‘It’s fitting that we honour them. They are truly “champions” of our arts and cultural community and their support and partnerships have helped ensure that WA has a much more vibrant and successful arts scene.’ I want to take this opportunity to thank not just those mentioned above but also the many of you out there who we’ve not yet met but who we know are helping us share Western Australian stories with the world.