Strauss & Co is thrilled to be the recipient of this year’s Chairman’s Premier Award at the 21st BASA Awards which were held today at the Victoria Yards complex in Lorentzville, Johannesburg. The prestigious award comes in the year of the company’s 10th anniversary.

The Chairman’s Premier Award is made at the discretion of the Chairman of BASA and recognises sustained and extraordinary commitment to the arts in South Africa. It is one of three BASA Special Awards that are not adjudicated by the judging panel.

The announcement was made by BASA Chairman, Andre le Roux, at the close of an event which celebrated a range of business and arts partnerships that play a role in building an inclusive economy.

Le Roux said Strauss & Co was being recognised for its diversity of arts projects—among them Pierneef: A Collector’s Passion, a specially curated exhibition and educational outreach at the 2017 Turbine Art Fair; the SA Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale: the Cassirer Welz Award, a project with The Bag Factory Artists’ Studios that was established seven years ago in honour of art dealer Reinhold Cassirer and in memory of Strauss & Co founder, Stephan Welz; The Stephan Welz/Strauss & Co lecture series, presentations and valuation day during the Hermanus Fynarts Festival; a longterm partnership with the Association of Visual Arts in Cape town and August Art Month at Welgemeend.

In his citation, Le Roux made special mention of Welz who founded Strauss & Co a decade ago with the vision to create, not only South Africa’s foremost fine art auction house, but an institution that plays a significant role in growing the country’s creative industries.

“It’s such a special honour to receive this award in the year of our tenth anniversary,” said Bina Genovese, Strauss & Co Joint Managing Director Cape Town. “To be recognised for the many different projects that we are involved in is a powerful endorsement of our multifaceted commitment to the art world, outside of our day-to-day business.”

“It’s fantastic to receive this honour from BASA,” added Frank Kilbourn, Executive Chairperson of Strauss & Co. “We are very aware of the fact that we are privileged to work in such an amazing industry. But we are also very aware that we have a role to play that goes far beyond what we do on a daily basis. Our outreach to improve the whole art eco-system, to introduce more people to art, to facilitate artists and promote art at every level is not coincidental. It is very much a part of our DNA. Being an active corporate citizen is integral to our business. It’s something that the whole team lives by—and, alongside honouring Stephan’s vision, this award is a wonderful recognition for the whole team.”

Executive Director Susie Goodman pointed to the theme of the 2018 BASA awards which was “legacy”, and working with the current generation for the benefit of the next.

“Stephan left a legacy that was built on connecting all the different areas of the art world, across generations” said Goodman. “Our various educational and art programmes play a really important role in making connections with young, emerging artists, with buyers and with a range of different stakeholders, and it makes our work meaningful, stimulating and hugely enjoyable.

“This award is a wonderful recognition of our participation at every level where we can make a difference,” concluded Vanessa Phillips, Strauss & Co Joint Managing Director Cape Town. “And we are are not stopping here. We’re always looking at innovating more programmes and partnerships, as a way of making art even more accessible, and developing a love of art for an ever-widening audience.”

Along with all the winners, Strauss & Co was awarded a trophy that reflected the legacy theme of the 2018 BASA Awards. Each trophy comprises a circular base atop of which are positioned four individually crafted, handmade rings making each trophy unique. Artists from across South Africa collaborated on crafting the rings including Smelt Studios and artist Ben Tuge, both resident at Victoria Yards.