Lack of funding for $10m riverside art 'disappointing'

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 23/05/2014

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The Government wants $10 million of new public art on the banks of the Avon River to help regenerate the city centre, but doesn't want to pay for it.

Christchurch Art Gallery director Jenny Harper said the lack of Government funding was "at the very least disappointing".

The Avon River Precinct a Government project, is under construction and will eventually consist of a 3.2-kilometre stretch of walkways and riverbank landscaping from the Antigua boatsheds to Bealey Ave.

But a spokesman for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) said the $10m art trail would be funded by philanthropy rather than the Government.

Harper said that since the Government had proposed the art trail, it should help fund the project.

"There is not much money allocated for art specifically in the rebuild," she said.

"It is assumed art will happen, but it does not seem to be fully supported."

"There is no money provided for the art. It is assumed that philanthropy will support the art.

"I am very disappointed that there is this idea of an art trail but no direct provision for the art," she said.

A spokesman for Cera said existing artworks such as Julia Morrison's Tree Houses for Swamp Dwellers on the corner of Gloucester and Colombo street could be moved to the art trail along with "new standalone works to be developed and funded by philanthropic donors".

The trail would also feature "integrated landscape public art including patterns developed by Ngai Tahu weavers within the new pavement in the proposed city promenade".

"There is Crown funding to kick-start the project through integrated landscape works and the rest will be funded through philanthropic donations and support," he said.

Cera, the Christchurch City Council and Ngai Tahu will be on the art selection panel, and would have expert advice.

The project will help regenerate the city centre, he said.

"Art is a critical element of Christchurch's character, identity and image.

"The intent is to express the stories of Christchurch, weaving cultures together to celebrate past, present and future.

"It is also intended to be a key part of the precinct to ensure strong engagement with local residents and tourists by attracting them to the art and helping to promote the future of Christchurch and the revitalisation of our city centre."

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