Meeting to call for input on art projects

Southland artists and art lovers are being called upon to spearhead a range of new ideas generated by an art initiative that has been away from the public eye for nearly 18 months.

The Venture Southland initiative, entitled Project Art Southland, funded with $20,000 from the joint committee, is holding a public meeting today at Venture Southland to ask for volunteers to help drive the next phase of the project.

A series of consultation meetings with the arts community in Southland was completed in August last year.

Venture Southland creative projects manager Angela Newell said getting to this stage of the project had taken a while but there was a long list of possible projects to consider.

The research commissioned by Venture Southland provided a draft blueprint for arts development in Southland, Ms Newell said.

There were 86 potential projects, incorporating all genres of the arts, suggested through consultative workshops, submissions and during the recent Southland Conference of the Arts forum, along with post-conference, informal think tanks, she said.

"The meeting will present a range of ideas collated so far which include connecting artists with visitors through some form of arts trail," she said.

Other ideas included a strategy to create sponsorship relationships between businesses and the arts and the development of further artist-in-residence opportunities for local practitioners, Ms Newell said.

This could be in the form of businesses displaying artworks and hosting performances, she said.

The arts community needed to "pick the ponies it wanted to back" and the public meeting would be the first step before the challenge of finding resources for the projects, Ms Newell said.

"In these tough times finding funding won't be easy but that is a challenge that must be overcome."

The public is welcome to attend the meeting, at 1pm today. An RSVP to Venture Southland is requested for catering purposes.

The Southland Times