Travel, study, recording new albums and time off to write and compose are among the plans 11 New Zealand artists have thanks to receiving grants of up to $50,000 each from the Arts Foundation.

The private charitable trust, which also runs the crowdfunding website boosted, provides annual no-strings attached monetary grants through the NZ Arts Awards, calling artists out-of-the-blue to let them know they've been selected.

This year's award recipients are:

Laureate Award Recipients (a gift of $50,000 each)
Niki Caro, director and filmmaker
Jemaine Clement, actor, writer, comedian and multi-instrumentalist
Ross McCormack, choreographer and contemporary dancer
Rob Ruha, Haka soul musician
Robin White, painter and printmaker


2017 New Generation Award Recipients (a gift of $25,000 each)
Hera Lindsay Bird, poet
Salina Fisher, contemporary classical composer and violinist
Tiffany Singh, interdisciplinary site-specific installation-based artist

Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award (a gift of $15,000)
Donovan Bixley, children's book illustrator and author

Marti Friedlander Photographic Award (a gift of $25,000)
Roberta Thornley, photographer

Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship (the fellowship includes $35,000 to cover expenses during time in Menton, France)Carl Nixon

Author Donovan Bixley can now travel to Italy for the world's biggest children's book fair.
Author Donovan Bixley can now travel to Italy for the world's biggest children's book fair.

For Donovan Bixley, it means he can travel to the world's largest children's books fair in Bologna, Italy. Bixley, who's never been to Italy, hopes to connect with fellow authors and show his extensive body of work to international publishers.

However, he's not 100 per cent certain that he's looking for more work given he has commitments up until 2020.

"But I wouldn't be averse if someone offered me the job of illustrating, say, the next Neil Gaiman book," he jokes.

Bixley also intends to do some research on artist Leonardo da Vinci for the third in a trilogy of books about great artists in great art forms.

"I've done Mozart and Shakespeare so Leonardo is next."

Similarly, poet Hera Lindsay Bird says the award is well-timed to allow her to travel and write while she's exploring the world. Contemporary classical musician Salina Fisher is already studying in New York and says the $25,000 gift will make her Masters in Composition go more smoothly.

"This award makes it a lot easier and it came totally out of the blue!"

Meanwhile, artist Tiffany Singh, mother of a 2-year-old daughter, says the award comes at a critical time.

"What this award will do is allow me to focus on my major inquiry into the relationship between arts, health and wellbeing. It will contribute to our travels as a family next year through Asia to develop this project and enable me to be a more present and re-energised mum."

While Rob Ruha will record a new album, dancer/choreographer Ross McCormack reckons he'll put it into saving perhaps for a deposit on a house.

"It's very hard for artists in New Zealand to accumulate enough income to put aside savings and have long-term security," says McCormack.

The recipients will celebrate at the NZ Arts Awards at the ASB Waterfront Theatre on Monday, November 6. They join 191 artists who have received more than $6 million from the Arts Foundation since it was established in 2000.