Manifest honours clown for life of creativity

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Cooranbong, New South Wales

An Avondale alumnus who has represented Australia at five Olympics is the recipient of the Manifest Creative Arts Festival’s most prestigious award this year.

Even if I have little or no idea about what to do. I just figure it out, and I end up discovering more about myself and my abilities than I dreamed I ever would.

Graeme Frauenfelder will receive the Gabe Reynaud Award during a ceremony also named in honour of the pioneering Seventh-day Adventist filmmaker. The award recognises excellence in faithful creativity.

“Graeme’s the most creative person I know,” says friend Dr Wayne French, chaplain on Avondale College of Higher Education’s Lake Macquarie campus. The two have known each other for more than 20 years. “But he’s not an artist, as such. Creativity is not about art; it’s about looking at something in a different way. And that’s what Graeme does over and over again.”
 

Graeme Frauenfelder is the recipient of this year’s Gabe Reynaud Award.


Graeme is a casual academic at the University of Western Sydney, a storyteller and a trainer who “opens hearts, inspires kindness and awakens creativity.” But he is best known as a clown, particularly at community-building festivals coordinated by Christians during the past five summer Olympics. He regularly travels the world—a camp for those displaced by the Sichuan earthquake in China, cross-cultural community-building and enrichment festivals in Johannesburg, South Africa, and creativity training in villages in Zambia—to enrich the lives of others. Graeme says yes to almost every opportunity, “even if I have little or no idea about what to do. I just figure it out, and I end up discovering more about myself and my abilities than I dreamed I ever would.”

Graeme’s philosophical approach and sophisticated intentionality to the practice of creativity is impressive, says Manifest co-convenor Joanna Darby, an Avondale alumna and artist who is a previous recipient of the Gabe Reynaud Award. “But what’s more impressive: he’s persisted without privilege, often without funding or institutional support, and he’s consistent, pouring creativity into his personal relationships and daily interactions with people.” 
 


Gabe Reynaud Awards, Ladies Chapel, Saturday, March 22, 3.30 pm. Drinks in foyer from 3 pm.