Fund changes aim to boost arts

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 12:13 11/08/2014

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Arts Council Nelson looks set to run a $125,000 artist fund on behalf of the Nelson City Council, giving local artists a funding boost.

The council arts fund was nearly cut from this year's annual plan after not being used the year before.

The council's senior strategic adviser, Nicky McDonald, told the community services committee last week that the council did not have enough staff to run the fund.

He said the arts council would provide the people and knowledge to find public art that benefited and revitalised the city.

Community arts manager Lloyd Harwood said the aim of the arts council was to make sure the money got spent this year.

"We see this as providing additional opportunities for local artists and in some cases we may have to go wider than local artists, but we will be looking at local artists first and foremost," he said.

"It's yet to be decided how exactly it will work, but I would imagine there would be quite a wide consultation getting people's ideas from the community. Council will be having some priority in terms of what happens with that fund in terms of sites and things."

The council may set out parameters on what projects the money could be spent on, such as specifying sites such as the waterfront or the city centre for work to be done at.

"All in all it's sort of looking for a more creative Nelson city, hopefully," said Harwood.

"There's going to be more things happening and put in place around the town, which will help beautify our already beautiful city."

He said the fund would not be a "carte blanche" for the arts council and it would be working closely to form a partnership with the council with clear parameters for how the fund can be administered.

The city council would not decide what arts projects would be funded - that would be up to a selection committee.

Possible ideas for where and what kind of projects could happen would come before the committee to make sure its councillors were comfortable with possible artist outcomes.

Councillors on the committee were receptive to the proposal.

Councillor Ian Barker said he wanted the fund to focus on and give priority to local artists over internationally based artists.

The proposal will go before full council on August 28 for final approval.

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- The Nelson Mail

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