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Arts Board boosts contemporary dance

Contemporary dance and choreographers have received a major boost in the latest funding round of the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand, announced this week.

Arts Board Chair Christopher Finlayson said the boost was part of a strategy to invest in the development of contemporary dance in New Zealand.

“Traditionally, contemporary dance has been under-resourced and we hope that this is the beginning of a new era for dance,” he said.

The Arts Board was in the middle of its two-day meeting to decide on project funding when Prime Minister Helen Clark announced the Government’s $86 million funding package to the cultural sector. Creative New Zealand received a one-off sum of $20 million and in mid-June, it will be announcing details of its Future Strengths and Seriously Maori strategies, plus new initiatives supporting individual artists.

Mr Finlayson said that although the additional funding was already earmarked, the Arts Board decided to boost its project funding in this round with extra funding for contemporary dance initiatives.

In its second funding round for 1999/2000, the Arts Board received a total of 639 applications for grants requesting more than $9.5 million. In the end, the Board offered 213 grants totalling $2.45 million.

Support for contemporary dance included a $200,000 grant to the New Zealand Dance Theatre, a new company set up by Shona McCullagh and Douglas Wright. The grant will support the creation of three new works to tour New Zealand.

Among the grants to contemporary dance were:

 $40,000 to MAU Dance of Auckland to hold a five-week workshop with a leading international artist, Min Tanaka, and selected New Zealand artists, culminating in a performance

 $33,000 to Black Grace Dance Company of Auckland towards a season of new works

 $26,300 to Sean Curham of Pt Chevalier, Auckland towards the premiere season of The Perfect Lie

 $100,000 to Good Company of Dunedin towards the premiere season of Soundings

 $50,000 to Maclary Theatre Productions of Wellington to develop a new touring show

 $30,000 to The Edge of Auckland towards its Made to Move 20001 contemporary dance subscription series

 $20,000 to Ann Dewey of Auckland to tour Nine Daisies, a garden dance, to New Zealand and Britain

 $20,000 to Lyn Pringle of Newtown, Wellington towards a studio tour of pre-existing repertoire and workshops.

In addition, the Arts Board agreed to match the Australia Council’s contribution and set aside A$50,000 towards the eighth Australia New Zealand Choreographic Course in Brisbane, January 2001. This long-standing partnership with the Australia Council dates back to 1982 when the first choreographic course was held.

Support for a range of craft projects was also a feature of this round. Mr Finlayson said the Board was pleased to note that applications for craft projects had increased both in quantity and quality.

“It was also good to see several projects addressing the lack of infrastructure support for the craft sector,” he said.

For instance, Jewellery Month Organising Committee of Auckland was offered $2500 for a symposium on the presentation and promotion of contemporary jewellery, to be held in August 2000. Two gallery dealers with international experience will be invited to New Zealand to speak at the symposium.

Several craft artists were offered $10,000 grants to create new work including Browynne Cornish of Mt Eden, Auckland; Katy Wallace of Kingsland, Auckland; and Ross Mitchell-Anyon of Wanganui. The Hawke’s Bay Cultural Trust in Napier was also offered $10,000 for Fashion Advice, a collaborative exhibition by fashion and furniture designer Marilyn Sainty and photographer Deborah Smith.

Funding programmes

The Arts Board has three funding programmes to which applicants apply. These are Creative and Professional Development; New Work; and Presentation, Promotion and Audience Development. Within these programmes, there is a component supporting arts in the community.

Mr Finlayson said the Arts Board was pleased to see a growing number of applicants taking a three-staged approach towards funding: applying for initial funding for the research and development phase of the project; then for the creation of the work; and finally, for the presentation of the work to an audience.

Creative and Professional Development

Grants under this programme include:

 $5000 to Penelope Barnhill of Grey Lynn, Auckland to research Pacific traditional head-dress in Rarotonga

 $20,000 to the Brass Bands Association of NZ, based in Christchurch, for its youth development programme and for the National Youth Brass Band course in January 2001

 $15,000 to Nelson Polytechnic towards two artist residencies in 2001 (Australian fibre artist Ruth Hadlow and Auckland multi-media artist Maureen Lander)

 $15,000 to the Southland Art Foundation towards its residency programme.

New Work

 $7000 to Graham Fletcher of Mt Eden, Auckland to produce a new body of work called Wallflowers

 $5000 to DeaFine Theatre Company of Balmoral, Auckland to premiere a sign-languaged production of King Lear

 $10,000 to the Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust to commission an orchestral work by Waiheke Island composer Helen Bowater for performance in Britain

 $9000 to Gretchen Brassington of Hamilton to write a novel for young adults

 $15,000 to Susan Jowsey of Auckland to develop a body of work as artist-in-residence at Tylee Cottage, Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui

 $10,000 to Gavin Hipkins of Mt Victoria, Wellington to produce a new body of photographic work

 $80,000 to the Women’s Professional Playwrights’ Association (WOPPA) towards its playwrights’ festival to be held in Wellington in late 2000

 $29,960 to Jealous of Wellington towards the premiere season of Fever.

Presentation, Promotion and Audience Development

 $11,000 to Class Act Opera of Epsom, Auckland towards a tour of a new New Zealand chamber opera to 56 North Island schools

 $14,000 to the Christchurch Polytechnic for a craft exhibition and symposium

 $5000 to the Norsewear Art Award of Waipukurau, the Hawke’s Bay towards its annual Art Award and exhibition

 $27,000 to New Zealand Wearable Art of Nelson towards its annual awards

 $15,000 to the Hocken Library of Dunedin towards exhibitions and a seminar of Rita Angus

 $13,640 to Kilimogo Productions of Dunedin towards a production of Hone Kouka’s play, Home Fires

 $10,000 to the Dowse Art Museum of Lower Hutt towards an exhibition of the work of Auckland artist Andy Leleisi’uao in early 2001

 $65,000 to the Taranaki Festival of the Arts towards the Taranaki Festival 2001

 $6000 to the Wellington Fringe Film Festival towards its 13th festival.

 $25,000 to Te Rakau O Te Wao Tapu Trust of Wellington to tour Busted to North Island schools.

A complete list of the grants (Arts Board, Te Waka Toi and Pacific Islands Arts Committee) will be available on Creative New Zealand’s website ( by mid-June. The list will also be published with the next issue of the magazine On Arts.


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