Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Awards

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

2018 Award winners

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.

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 (2017)
  • Managed by a NSW council (and received the approval of the General Manager)
  • Undertaken by a current member of LGNSW.


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. 

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