A driving force behind Hobart’s arts scene, a highly talented teenage philanthropist, and the volunteers behind a project to feed people most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic have been recognised at today’s City of Hobart Australia Day Awards presentation.
In a ceremony at the Sandy Bay Regatta this morning, Life Member of the Arts Society of Tasmania Vicki Chapman, was named the 2021 City of Hobart Citizen of the Year.
“Vicki’s award is in recognition of her long-term and ongoing commitment to promoting the arts,” said Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet, who presented the award this morning.
“After an art teaching career spanning 30 years, Vicki has been a driving force behind the Art Society of Tasmania. Since joining in 2006, she has served in every role from committee member to President.
“Vicki has been the person behind the scenes who makes things happen. She was the instigator of the Waterways Exhibition, which is held every two years in the Long Gallery Salamanca in conjunction with the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.
“It is due to her unwavering enthusiasm, hard work, and commitment to excellence that the Art Society of Tasmania has continued to flourish.”
The Young Citizen of the Year Award has gone to Sheng-Yuan Lynch, a talented pianist who last year raised a mammoth $110,000 for the Red Cross Australia Disaster Relief bushfire appeal through a charity piano concert.
“In 2019, Sheng-Yuan held a concert to raise funds for the Hutchins School music department, and undertook a live-streamed, three-day piano-a-thon fielding song requests from across the world to fundraise for Save the Children Australia,” Cr Burnet said.
“He shows humility towards his talent and recognises the significance of contributing to the society and community in which he lives.”
Sheng-Yuan passed his AMEB Licentiate Diploma exam with distinction in 2017 at the age of 12, and was the youngest participant to receive his diploma certificate that year.
In a year during which community events in their traditional format were largely cancelled or postponed, the criteria was expanded for the Community Event of the Year to encompass initiatives that supported and connected people across the city.
The recipient of the 2021 award is the Show Hope initiative implemented by the Wellspring Anglican Church to provide food relief to those most in need as a result of COVID-19.
“When the Wellspring Anglican Church found out that international students and those on temporary visas were going without food as a result of COVID-19-induced employment loss, the church stepped in to feed people – initially 40 per week and increasing to 600 a week by August,” Cr Burnet said.
“To meet this increasing demand for support, the Church fundraised more than $150,000 to supply food boxes, hot and fresh food, blankets and sanitary products to those who needed them.
“Show Hope is an outstanding community initiative that is being awarded for the genuine and timely response to an emerging need resulting from the pandemic.”
Show Hope is run twice a week at Wellspring Church by around 50 volunteers – many of whom are international students.