Artist of the year

recognising the success and contribution of our artists

In early 2012 the festival committee discussed the need to raise the profile of the region’s arts community, specifically highlighting the successful artists who have emerged from the region.

It had become evident that, whilst many of our professional artists were well known, often our current residents were not aware such artists were from our region.

After discussion with several members of the arts community, and deliberation by the festival committee, the DREAM Artist of the Year Award was established. This award aims to put the spotlight on our successful artists, providing inspiration to our young artists – ensuring they know that growing up in a rural area is not a barrier.

In 2013 our Assessment Panel was expanded to include representatives of several key arts organisations within the community who have the difficult task of assessing the nominations each year.



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2017 Winner:  Libby Gleeson

An internationally renowned author of over 40 popular, highly acclaimed books for children and teenagers, Libby spent the formative years of her life in the city, completing her schooling at Dubbo High School. She was school captain and dux in 1968

Libby is a member of the Order of Australia, and has received numerous awards including the Lady Cutler Award, NSW Premier’s Literary Special Award, Prime Minister’s Literary Award, The Nan Chauncy Award and the Dromkeen Medal. Her books have been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year fourteen times and won five times. In 2000, Libby’s title The Great Bear, illustrated by Armin Greder was awarded the prestigious Bologna Ragazzi Award – the first time this honour was bestowed on an Australian author.


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2016 -  Lisa Edwards is a classical ballet dancer who has been performing with the Queensland Ballet Company since 2004. Prior to this, Lisa was dancing and touring with Swiss and German companies.



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2015 – Phil Stack is a founding Member of multi-platinum rock/pop group Thirsty Merc. In addition to this, he is one of Australia’s most respected double-bassists, touring the world with the legendary James Morrison. He has also played with some of Australia’s greatest symphony orchestras and has won several national awards.




2014 - Making history as the Australian Ballet Company’s first Aboriginal dancer, Ella Havelka has performed in numerous productions, including several international tours. This follows Ella’s successful career performing with Bangarra Dance Theatre



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2013 - Walkley Award winning photographer, Mervyn Bishop was the first Aboriginal photographer employed at the Sydney Morning Herald. With a long and successful career, Mervyn’s work has been displayed around the world.





2012 - The inaugural recipient of this award, Kellie Dickerson, is one of Australia’s foremost musical directors, with productions including Wicked, Doctor Zhivago, Legally Blonde and Once; just to name a few.