Arts group seeks funds increase

00:41, May 15 2014

The Nelson Arts Council has asked for a $35,000 boost in funding from the Nelson City Council, but has given up looking for extra financial support from the Tasman District Council.

At hearings on the Nelson council's draft annual plan the arts council requested an increase in financial support from $45,000 to $80,000.

The arts council was operating at a deficit, had increasing expenses and needed investment in infrastructure, community chairman Ian Bowell and community arts manager Lloyd Harwood told city councillors.

Funding for the arts council had stagnated over the last 10 years despite inflation rising.

Harwood said the organisation would not be able to carry out all of its functions without a boost from the city council and was applying for funding from sources outside of Nelson as well.

The council runs events for the city, such as Art in Windows and the Changing Threads national fibre awards, and administers the Creative Communities Scheme.


Councillor Ian Barker queried how much the Tasman council was funding the organisation as the arts council stretched over Nelson city, Richmond, Murchison, Waimea, and Moutere.

Harwood said the Tasman council continued to contribute $4000, but he had stopped asking for more.

"We have actually given up, we have in the past looked to try get more funding out of there, but it's not been possible in the past and they are cutting back even further this year," he said.

The arts council felt it delivered well for the region and more funding would mean extra services.

"The council actually get a very efficient and effective service out of us.

"It would cost them a lot more to do it themselves than what we do it for, that's for sure," said Harwood.

The extra funding would allow the organisation to administrate the council's proposed $125,000 arts fund if given the go ahead from the city council since there was not enough staff capacity within Civic House to run the fund.

"I am sure we could deliver quite a lot for that funding, absolutely," said Harwood.

If denied the funding, the arts council would probably need to scale back its basic operations and not deliver any thing extra, said Harwood.

It had raised some finance by running projects and through applications to other funding organisations.

"We just have to scrabble around really for any extra money over and above what the council give," said Harwood, but often the organisation found itself "between a rock and hard place" as it was excluded from accessing charitable funds because it had local authority support.

Harwood said the arts council provided a focal point for assistance, guidance, and promotion for the "huge amount of people" involved in a range of arts from creative writing to pottery and fibres.

"It helps keep that creativity in the community and that creative view of Nelson as a lively arts centre," said Harwood.

The city council will consider the art's council submission along with all other submissions on its draft annual plan on May 27 and 28.

The Nelson council heard from over 60 submitters on the draft annual plan over the last two days.

Themes from the public's submissions included the closure of the Trafalgar Centre, roading safety and infrastructure, cycle infrastructure and planning, issues and investment in stormwater systems, environmental and sustainability projects, support and opposition for spending $500,000 on the Modellers pond and endorsement for the cleaning up of the Maitai river.

The Nelson Mail