Funds interest arts groups

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 12:58 03/04/2014

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The Nelson City Council could work with outside groups to run a $125,000 fund budgeted in the draft annual plan for art projects in the city.

The fund was nearly cut from the draft annual plan, put out last week for consultation, as it had not been used in the previous year due to a lack of council staff time and resources.

Arts Council Nelson community arts manager Lloyd Harwood said the arts council was concerned the fund had not been spent and would be submitting on the draft annual plan to see how it could partner with the city council to make sure funds reached artists.

"We thought that the arts council would be able to help with that working alongside the council," he said.

Councillors Pete Rainey and Ruth Copeland advocated keeping the fund available during council discussions about the draft annual plan.

"We've just refocused the entire fund and we are hoping to generate interest from the community and that they will come forward with ideas and projects that we can find how we can administrate it," said Copeland.

Rainey said it was a good step to partner with the community and parties outside of the council to take pressure off council staff.

"The last thing we want to do is for the fund to be chewed up in staff time," he said. "It's pretty important that the community is involved. We want as much of it to actually go to the art works and artists as possible."

Rainey said it would be desirable for the council to partner with other funders as it would get more public buy-in.

He said he supported council taking the lead in arts by funding, commissioning, and designing work for the city, but that was "clearly not happening here".

Copeland said in the past council staff had spoken a different language to artists and this was a chance to try something new.

Once submissions are received the council will finalise the annual plan on June 19.

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