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Artists In The Wild

Artists In The Wild Creative New Zealand And Department Of Conservation Announce Partnership

A new partnership between Creative New Zealand and the Department of Conservation, aimed at encouraging artists to create works inspired by New Zealand’s natural and historic resources, has been launched by Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard and
Conservation Minister Sandra Lee.

This partnership will involve three strands, the first of which is a residency programme for artists called Wild Creations. Fifteen possible residency locations have been identified by the Department of Conservation, representing a diversity of conservation sites from Auckland to Central Otago. Piloting of the Wild Creations strand will involve three artists spending up to six weeks of next summer exploring the environment of a particular conservancy to research new works. DOC will host the artists and Creative New Zealand will pay them a stipend.

"Artists are being enlisted to record New Zealand's conservation heritage," Ms Tizard and Ms Lee said. "They'll be free to explore the environment and challenges of their location through the artisic mediums of any cultural tradition, including craft, choreography, photography, painting, sculpture, literature or music."

Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Elizabeth Kerr describes the partnership as a significant
and exciting initiative for New Zealand. “Artists have always responded to their environment and
the New Zealand landscape has inspired great works, so a partnership betweent the arts and the
natural environment is obvious and apt.”

Director General of DOC, Hugh Logan believes this partnership is a major step forward for New
Zealand. “In five years time, I can see some major travelling exhibitions celebrating the work that
has been produced. I believe these residencies will result in something spectacular, which will
be so stimulating it will capture the immagination of people in New Zealand and overseas.”

Creative New Zealand supports other projects and schemes that bring together artists and the
environment - most notably the successful partnership between Creative New Zealand and
Antarctica New Zealand. For the past five years New Zealand artists across all artforms have
visited Antarctica and returned to New Zealand to make work inspired by their experiences.
These include: writer Margaret Mahy, visual artist Margaret Elliot, dancer Bronwyn Judge,
musician Chris Cree-Brown and sculptor Virginia King,

Margaret Elliot highlights the value of such initiatives to artists and New Zealanders when she says
that through experiences such as visiting Antarctica “we are confronted with our transience
and our fragility. We need reminding to have more respect for our environment; to realise the
interdependence of the environment and the living things its supports.”

Ms Tizard and Ms Lee said the scheme was a good example of crown agencies working together to offer opportunities to artists and increase general awareness of New Zealand's cultural heritage and conservation values.

"For the Department of Conservation these artist residencies are a way of promoting the
country's natural and historic heritage. For Creative New Zealand and the artists it
supports, the residencies are a valuable opportunity to create work in our protected spaces
and be informed by them."

The Ministers said the scheme will increase the artistic documentation of the country’s natural and cultural heritage. “Many New Zealanders treasure and gain inspiration from our outdoors when they visit the many special sites we have up and down our country. This scheme will help artists to express the source of their inspiration and to share it with others.”

Artist’s wishing to take part in the pilot programme will need to forward a written expression of interest to DOC by 28 June. A panel comprising representatives of DOC and Creative New Zealand will then select three pilot residencies.

The scheme will run as a pilot project for the first year, and will then be reassessed. It is hoped it will become an annual programme. The first three artists will be selected by mid 2002, and take up their residencies over the summer of 2002/2003.


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