Gareth is someone who goes above and beyond in his support for the arts in Warrnambool.- Debbie Arnott
Gareth Colliton has been named Warrnambool's Citizen of the Year.
The artist, teacher, businessman and volunteer has been recognised for his contributions to the city's creative industries.
Warrnambool mayor Debbie Arnott congratulated Mr Colliton on the honour.
"Gareth is someone who goes above and beyond in his support for the arts in Warrnambool," Cr Arnott said.
"He's been involved in bringing people and ideas together for many years.
"He's been active with The F Project, public art projects, he's run a gallery and is now devoting an enormous amount of time and energy to One Day Studios.
"Whether as a volunteer or in his professional career, he enriches Warrnambool's arts and culture scene."
Mr Colliton said he was shocked to learn he had been named citizen of the year.
"For some 50,000 years Warrnambool has been a place of innovation and creativity - it seems to have created a kind of vortex that draws the most amazing people here," he said.
"I think of this award as being representative of all of the creative people with whom I work.
"I'm very lucky to work with such great teams doing so many wonderful things for our community.
"To receive this honour on top of that privilege is very unexpected."
Warrnambool historians Carlyn and Ron Sproston have also been recognised with local achiever awards in recognition of their work documenting local history, most recently with the RSL.
"Congratulations to Carlyn and Ron," Cr Arnott said.
"They've put in hundreds of hours to document the military service of local people.
"They have also mentored other RSL historians.
"If you have visited the interactive war memorial at the RSL then you'll have an insight into the work they have assisted with on behalf of the community."
The Warrnambool Multicultural Festival was named community event of the year by the council.
"We had a large number of nominations for the multicultural festival," Cr Arnott said.
"More than 4000 people attended the festival to enjoy a range of activities including food, dancing, traditional costumes and Tai Chi.
"It was a wonderful event and a great reflection of our increasingly diverse community."
Cr Arnott said the awards had transitioned to become community awards that were independent of the January 26 Australia Day activities.
"The change recognises that the awards are strong enough to stand on their own and also acknowledges that the way in which the community views January 26 is changing," Cr Arnott said.
The awards will be presented at a ceremony on January 25, from 6pm at the new library.
The public is welcome to attend. Registration is required.
Those wishing to head along are asked to register first at https://events.humanitix.com/warrnambool-citizen-of-the-year-awards
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