Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Awards

Nominations for 2019 are now closed.

The Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Award celebrates outstanding achievement by local government organisations in strategic planning for arts and culture. 

About Leo Kelly

Councillor Leo Kelly was a passionate and dedicated LGNSW Board member who served from 1983. His service included 15 years as Vice-President – Metro on the Local Government Association of NSW Board.

Cr Kelly was a long-serving Blacktown City councillor and a champion for the arts. He was instrumental in creating Blacktown Arts Centre and was a supporter of the arts through the Blacktown City Art Prize and scholarships for local artists. 

Leo passed away in January 2017.

About the award

This Award, in honour of the late Councillor Leo Kelly OAM, recognises councils who are leaders in arts and culture and have excelled in strategic policy, planning, delivery and evaluation. This includes:
  • Integrated cultural planning and policy
  • Creative stakeholder engagement
  • Building capacity of the arts and cultural sector.

Eligible projects or initiatives will be judged on whether they:

  • Are innovative and resulted in improvements to cultural planning, policy, delivery and or evaluation
  • Achieved their intended goals with measurable cultural outcomes.

Councils could enter, for example, initiatives or projects that demonstrate:

  • Leadership by a council in developing, implementing and evaluating strategic cultural planning, in particular where initiatives relate to overall integrated planning and reporting
  • Community and stakeholder engagement that utilises best practice or innovative techniques to inform council planning
  • Collaboration across divisions of council in in developing policy, plans, strategies or evaluation techniques.

A winner and highly commended will be awarded within three divisions based on council population:

  • Fewer than 30,000
  • Between 30,000 to 70,000
  • Greater than 70,000


Eligibility criteria

The project or initiative must have been:

  • Undertaken during the previous calendar year
  • Managed by a NSW council or group of councils (and received the approval of the General Manager) that is/are a current member of LGNSW.

Assessment criteria

  1. The project/initiative can be replicated by other councils and shows leadership to the local government sector
  2. The project/initiative is innovative and has resulted in improvements to cultural planning, policy, delivery and/or evaluation
  3. The project/initiative achieved its intended goals with measurable cultural outcomes
  4. The project/initiative achieved value for money and cost efficiencies

Applicants will have 250 words to respond to each of the 4 assessment criteria


Eligible nominations will be assessed based on the content provided in the submitted entry form against the criteria and be judged by a professional panel consisting of industry professionals and LGNSW. 

Case Studies 2019

Bathurst Regional Council (DOCX, 2.3MB)

Bayside Council (DOCX, 1.8MB)

Campbelltown City Council (DOCX, 18MB)

Cessnock City Council (DOCX, 1.2MB)

City of Canada Bay Council (DOCX, 702KB)

City of Parramatta Council (DOCX, 2MB)

Cumberland Council (DOCX, 2MB)

Georges River Council (DOCX, 903KB)

Mosman Council (DOCX, 453KB)

Snowy Valleys Council (DOCX, 1.86MB)

Wollongong City Coincil (DOCX, 760 KB)

Award Winers 2019

Division A: less than 30,000 population

Winner: Snowy Valleys Council - NAIDOC Week 2018 – Celebrating Wiradjuri

Division B: from 30,000 – 70,000 population

Winner: Bathurst Regional Council - RE-ORG Bathurst

Division C: more than 70,000 population

Joint Winners: 
City of Canada Bay - While You are Here ... Virtual Traces of Rhodes
Mosman Council - New Sacred Exhibition

Award Winners 2018

Division A – population fewer than 30,000
Winner: Bland Shire Council Weethalle Silo Art Project
Division B - population 30,000 to 70,000
Winner: Wollondilly illuminARTe Festival
Division C - population more than 70,000
Winner: Port-Macquarie Hastings ArtWalk
Special Mention: Parramatta - Culture and Our City Plan for Parramatta CBD 2017-2022 for its measurable cultural outcomes.

Award Winners 2017

LGNSW Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Award

Division A – population fewer than 30,000

Winner: Griffith City Council – Centenary of Spears Projects

Division B - population 30,000 to 70,000

Winner: Wagga Wagga City Council – We are here - LGBTIQ stories of the Riverina exhibition, program and collection

Division C - population more than 70,000

Winner: Blacktown City Council – It's Our Thing – More History on Australian Hip-Hop Project

Highly Commended: Coffs Harbour City Council – Creative Coffs - A new Cultural Strategic Plan 2017-2022 and Cultural Policy