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New Creative New Zealand Arts Strategy

Towards A More Confident And Vibrant Professional Arts Infrastructure

The first stage of Future Strengths, a three-year strategy to stabilise and strengthen the professional arts infrastructure, has been implemented by Creative New Zealand, with substantial funding increases offered to 37 professional arts organisations throughout New Zealand.

Council Chair Peter Biggs commended the Government for its $86 million cultural recovery package, announced in May, which included a one-off funding injection of $20 million (incl. GST) to Creative New Zealand.

“This funding boost has meant we’ve been able to develop a range of strategies that will have long-term benefits for New Zealand arts and artists,” Mr Biggs said.

The three-year strategies include Future Strengths, Seriously Maori and Regional Strengths.

Council agreed to provide $3.2 million to the first year of a Future Strengths strategy, which will:

 substantially increase funding to Creative New Zealand’s portfolio of annually and multi-year funded organisations (ie recurrently funded)
 diversify the portfolio of recurrently funded organisations
 increase the number of organisations receiving multi-year funding.
The overall increase in funding levels for 2001 is 30 per cent.

“For years, the arts infrastructure has been seriously underfunded and this is the first time Creative New Zealand has been able to offer an increase of this magnitude to its recurrently funded organisations,” Mr Biggs said. “Future Strengths will enable the arts to further realise their potential, take risks and extend audiences.”

In this first stage of Future Strengths, Creative New Zealand’s recurrently funded organisations have increased from 31 to 37.

Since 1998, Creative New Zealand has funded four organisations on a multi-year basis (Auckland Philharmonia, The Court Theatre, Centrepoint Theatre and Arts Access Aotearoa). Under Future Strengths, seven additional organisations, previously funded on an annual basis, will receive multi-year grants. This provides guaranteed funding at a fixed level over a three-year period. These are: the Auckland Theatre Company, NBR Opera New Zealand, Canterbury Opera, Tower New Zealand Youth Choir, Toi Maori Aotearoa and Chamber Music New Zealand.

Multi-year grants will make it possible for these organisations to plan ahead, to further develop their audiences, and to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders.

An integral part of developing and strengthening the professional arts infrastructure is providing opportunities for a greater diversity of cultures and arts practices to be heard.

A number of emerging organisations have been offered annual grants for the first time. These organisations speak to new audiences and communities and include the New Zealand Book Council, Capital E’s National Theatre for Children, Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust, Artists Alliance, Te Whanau Paneke and Te Whare Tu Taua o Aotearoa.

Why Future Strengths will have widespread benefits

“A confident and vibrant professional arts infrastructure is vital to ensuring a healthy arts sector,” said Cath Robinson, Arts Development Manager for Creative New Zealand. “A revitalised arts infrastructure will have widespread benefits both for the arts sector and for New Zealand.”

Ms Robinson said that the grants from Creative New Zealand will support professional arts organisations to develop and present new and innovative work; provide professional development opportunities; enable organisations to tour their work more widely; provide arts education programmes and residencies; and build new audiences.

Benefits include:

The creation of new New Zealand work. Ongoing opportunities to create new works are essential to the development of arts practice and the growth of a strong cultural identity. Strengthening the arts infrastructure will result in significantly more opportunities for arts practitioners to create new New Zealand works.

Increased employment opportunities. As well as providing additional opportunities for the creators of new work, a better resourced professional arts infrastructure will employ more arts practitioners and administrators, and over time more adequately remunerate the creative work force.

Increased opportunities for Maori and Pacific voices to be heard. Increased support to Maori and Pacific arts organisations will ensure a richer expression of New Zealand voices so we continue to develop our growing identity as a vibrant and diverse Pacific nation.

“The cost of doing more for less over a long period of time caused artistic exhaustion for some organisations, erratic programming, declining production standards and – ultimately – dwindling audiences,” Cath Robinson said.

“The increased support and new opportunities should arrest this decline and enable the professional arts sector to step confidently into the future.”

For further information, please call:

Penelope Borland
Communications and Advocacy Manager
Creative New Zealand
Tel: 04-498 0723

Cath Robinson
Arts Development Manager
Creative New Zealand
Tel: 04-498 0730

Please note: Along with its portfolio of recurrently funded organisations, Creative New Zealand has two project funding rounds a year to which artists and arts organisations apply for grants for clearly defined, one-off projects. Details of the next project round will be announced in late October.

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