After two wild years with the pandemic, Awesome Newcastle is triumphantly still here! Last night we were stoked to launch the first Awesome Newcastle of the new year at The Criterion Hotel, this time in their lovely Beer Garden.
In 2021 we said goodbye and good luck to a few fantastic permanent board members: Don Magin, Adam Lance, Adam Heslop and Graham Batten. This year to kick things off we are thrilled to welcome a brand new permanent board members Sam Wallace of Puro People. Welcome, Sam!
We also welcomed a few first time guest board members: writer Ed Wright, Brandi Howard of Apple and returning guest board member Steve Bull of Tribe Bikes. Excitingly, our host for the evening was original Awesome Newcastle custodian Emma Levine!
We gathered and enjoyed having a drink and getting to know one another. As per usual, last night we had three incredible finalists.
We welcomed local cellist and composer Naomi Dart. She told us about her idea to create a showcase of artists from across different disciplines to come together and collaborate. The show we be called “Where We Meet” all about our common ground as living organisms on this planet. She aims to have all artists coming together to express the same broad topic to give the show some coherence. She plans on matching artists from different disciplines, so they get to broaden their creative circle. She would use the money to cover the costs of putting on the show, so that all ticket sales can go to the artists.
We welcomed another local musician, Kodi Twiner. Kodi is one of three organisers of Newy West Block Fest, coming to Newcastle West March 13th. They are hoping that after months of lockdown and devastating Covid news, a street party with live music, street vendors, performers and workshops will be just what Newcastle needs to rejuvenate and celebrate. They hope Newy West Block Fest will help rebuild local communities and bring the city together while supporting local business owners. Newy West Block Fest has already secured funding from City of Newcastle, and Kodi is hoping to secure a little bit more to ideally pay more talented local artists.
We welcomed Ashraf Abdelbaky of CALD CONNECT, a company he recently started. His focus is to connect youth coming from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Newcastle. The city of Newcastle has supported him with a quick response grant to start a capacity building training for the Arab Youth in Newcastle. What he needs now is to connect those with other CALD youth through organising sports activities. He told the board would use the money to arrange some activities for the CALD youth in Newcastle.
The judges listened and asked questions. As per usual, they knew they had a tough task on their hands.
They debated and discussed and eventually a decision was reached. We invited Ed to announce the winner, and Ed passed the money to Ash! We loved all the pitches which are going to make great things happen year, but Ash’s was particularly interesting to us because graduates of his program will come back and mentor the next round of young people in the future. It’s one little spark that has the ability to change the future for lots of local young people.
Thank you so much for all the board members and finalists who came out last night and shared some moments.