Acorn Foundation in partnership with Tauranga Art Gallery has today announced the brand new Jann Medlicott Award for Contemporary Art.

The $30,000 art prize has been established through the generous bequest of Jann Medlicott NZOM and will be awarded biennially to an artist who has made a significant contribution to contemporary art practice in New Zealand. It will be judged by a panel of industry experts who will base their decision on the contribution of the artist over the two years leading up to the award.

In addition to the cash prize, the recipient will secure an exhibition at the Tauranga Art Gallery.

Jann passed away in 2022 leaving a significant legacy to the arts. In 2012, the Acorn Foundation Jann Medlicott Creative Arts Award was established in partnership with Creative Bay of Plenty. In 2016, Jann began to anonymously support the national Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. The award was renamed as the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction in 2020 and her legacy will now also live on through the Jann Medlicott Award for Contemporary Art.

Jann worked at Tauranga Hospital as Clinical Director of Radiology and then co-founded two private radiology practices in Tauranga, where she worked until 2011. Retirement allowed Jann to pursue her love for art and literature.

She was recognised in the 2021 Queen's New Year's Honours, becoming a member of the NZ Order of Merit for her services to philanthropy, the creative arts and radiology.

Lori Luke, Acorn Foundation’s CEO, expressed her gratitude towards Jann, saying, “We are so grateful to Jann for giving yet another wonderful gift to the arts in New Zealand. This award will continue in perpetuity, inspiring contemporary artists who will have the opportunity to receive this award. Jann Medlicott will long be remembered as a true champion of the arts, in her always modest but deeply considered way.”

Gallery Director Sonya Korohina says, “Art prizes can be transformational, as they not only celebrate the recipient but empower them to create new work. Jann was well known in Tauranga for her love of the arts and we are delighted to continue her legacy nurturing artistic excellence and creativity in New Zealand. We look forward to announcing the inaugural recipient in 2025.”

The Jann Medlicott Award for Contemporary Art joins a suite of awards hosted by the Tauranga Art Gallery including the Acorn Foundation Junior Art Award and the Rydal Art Prize (for painting).

Image: Jann Medlicott, image supplied by Tauranga Art Gallery