Wellington arts and culture projects receive boost from Council grants

7 December 2017

Wellington City Council allocated $131,760 to 35 arts and culture groups and projects – with recipients representing a wide and diverse range of creative talent from all over the capital.

Barbarian Productions Soft N Hard

Barbarian Productions - Soft N Hard

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Recipients including: Barbarian Productions; Creation Station; a short film developed with a local secondary school for teen parents; and a new winter festival, are among the projects and groups that got funding from the Council’s Grants Subcommittee yesterday.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, who also holds the Arts and Culture portfolio, says the submissions for funding showed that the city is a hothouse for talent and creativity at all levels. “Wellington is New Zealand’s city for creatives, and that means we have to support talent from the ground up.”

The recipients were a mix of grassroots groups and longstanding creative institutions like the New Zealand Opera, which is facing increased costs in moving a production from the St James to the Opera House.

“Funding is only one of the ways that we support our creative community. We have a strong arts and events team here, which works closely with the creative sector to connect them with opportunities and provide advice all year round.”

A 2017 infometrics report into creative cities in New Zealand showed Wellington to be New Zealand’s most creative city, with 6.4% of the city’s workforce being involved in creative and artistic occupations and industries.

Associate Arts and Culture portfolio holder Councillor Nicola Young says the submissions’ calibre was high, “each submission was judged on its own merits and it depended on whether or not they met the strict criteria.”

Councillor Young says the grants were allocated to a diverse range of initiatives, including mentoring, digital and some unusual projects – including a visiting Sikh pipe band.

Meanwhile, the Social and Recreation Fund, Natural Environment Fund, and Waste Minimisation over $2000 Seed Fund applications were also heard yesterday.

The Social and Recreation Fund focuses on building resilient communities, and Councillor Brian Dawson says this funding round’s grant recipients exemplify a huge cross-section of society.

“I dream of the day that this fund is undersubscribed, but in the meantime it’s good to be able to support these volunteer groups and organisations from all around the city, as they step up to help their communities,” he says.

The Waste Minimisation Seed Fund supports community initiatives that contribute to reducing waste, and projects that promote reuse, reduction, and recycling messaging, activities and events. Grant recipient, the Aro Valley/Newtown Community Fridge application fits this criteria says Waste Minimisation Manager Meagan Miller.

“This project proposes that a community fridge be located in two public spaces accessible to anyone to put food in, or take food out. The main aim is to reduce food waste, and to provide food to people who need it.”

The Natural Environment Fund prioritises projects and activities that protect, restore, connect communities, and offer research towards the capital’s many ecosystems, biodiversity, and flora and fauna.

This round’s five recipients cover all the bases from mountain to sea, and earth to sky, with funding going to a Makara Peak stream clean-up, a freshwater education and monitoring project, native plant restoration, development of plans for community gardens in Vogelmorn, and pest control in Long Gully Bush Reserve.