Creative Kōrero, Funding, Music

Prestigious Scholarship Puts a Spotlight on Bay’s Creative Talent

Creative Bay of Plenty, Acorn Foundation, and local arts patron Jann Medlicott are cultivating the next generation of creative people. As a result, the future of a young Tauranga classical vocalist just got a little bit brighter after she beat a strong field of contenders to secure the 2020 Jann Medlicott Creative Arts Scholarship.

Sarah Mileham has been named the winner of the prestigious award, given in partnership with the Acorn Foundation in support of academic study or training for a career in the creative arts. Currently a Year 13 student at Bethlehem College, the scholarship will support Sarah’s study for a Bachelor of Music majoring in classical performance of the voice at Victoria University next year.

Sarah says she’s very thankful for the scholarship. “With the amazing generosity of Jann Medlicott, I have the confidence to know that I am backed by a wonderful group of people. I am incredibly thankful for the support this scholarship provides and am looking forward to working hard towards my musical career.”

A passionate singer who loves getting involved in the Bay of plenty’s cultural community, Sarah has been part of school orchestras, concert bands and percussion groups, as well as taking the lead in theatre productions, achieving recognition at the Smokefree Rockquest and singing in the school’s jazz band and strings group. This year she was also a member and soloist in the New Zealand National Secondary Schools’ Choir and deputy head girl at Bethlem College, which she says has enabled her to develop leadership skills.

The Jann Medlicott Creative Arts Scholarship was established by the Acorn Foundation in 2012 and is administered by Creative Bay of Plenty. To be eligible, applicants must either live in Tauranga/Western Bay or have completed part of their secondary education here. It was previously set at $2000 a year but has been increased to $5000 to reflect the importance Jann puts on supporting those wanting to further their career in the creative sector. This year a record number of applications were received across a diverse range of disciplines and ages.

Jann Medlicott noted the high calibre of applicants for the scholarship across a wide range of artistic genres. However, she felt Sarah’s application demonstrated an outstanding talent as well as versatility in her vocal execution, from soloist to performing in orchestras, choirs and bands. “It is clear that Sarah has an undeniable talent and a bright future ahead of her. I feel she has the potential and determination to rise to the top of her field on the international stage,” said Jann.

General Manager of Acorn Foundation, Lori Luke, said “The Acorn Foundation is so pleased to partner with our wonderful donor, Jann Medlicott, and the team at Creative Bay of Plenty on the Jann Medlicott Creative Arts Scholarship. This year there were more than 20 highly qualified applicants, and Sarah Mileham is a very deserving winner. Jann’s amazing generosity is so apparent, both with this year’s increase in the value of the prize to $5000 and her commitment to provide this scholarship long into the future via her endowment fund. We can’t thank Jann enough for her support of youth in arts in the Western Bay.”

“Supporting local creative development and emerging talent is an investment in our future,” said Eric Holowacz, General Manager of Creative Bay of Plenty. “If we want a community that is bright, expressive, vibrant, and rich in arts, culture, and heritage, then we need to cultivate the next generation of arts leaders. The Jann Medlicott Creative Arts Scholarship does just that—supporting the most promising creative arts practitioners in the Bay of Plenty.”

The scholarship will be formally awarded to Sarah at the Acorn Foundation Annual General Meeting on Monday 16 November.

About Jann Medlicott

Jann Medlicott was born in Taranaki and studied medicine at the University of Otago, specialising in radiology. After three years overseas, she returned to New Zealand and settled in Tauranga in 1980 as a hospital based radiologist. She was involved in establishment of private radiology practices in the Bay of Plenty including Medex Radiology, where she was a partner until she retired in 2011. Jann is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts, with a passion for teaching and supporting young people to reach their potential. She is also a firm believer in people ‘giving back’ to the community.

About Acorn Foundation

The Acorn Foundation has been working in the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region since 2003, connecting generous people who care with causes that matter. They are building a charitable fund that will cater for the current and future needs of the region – forever. Acorn Foundation supporters can have a real impact in the community by leaving a gift in their will, establishing a workplace giving plan, creating a giving circle or setting up a regular donation. The capital in the fund remains intact, while the interest generated is distributed into the community – ensuring the benefits will continue for future generations. Visit

About Creative Bay of Plenty

Creative Bay of Plenty is the arts and culture support organisation covering Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty. It was established in 1969 to support the growth of arts and culture locally, with a focus on connecting, upskilling, supporting and promoting creatives and their activities. An advocate for creative placemaking, Creative Bay of Plenty supports cultural identity and civic developments, offers networking opportunities, fosters creative community engagement and initiates new arts, culture and heritage initiatives. Its operational costs are funded by Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council. Visit

Creative Kōrero, Funding, Music

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