Matchmaker to the arts

18:30, Nov 17 2013
art
Paul Young begin rehearsals for a dance event on June 23 among the installation on the Gloucester Street Manchester street corner.

Supporting the arts with practical giving rather than cash or sponsorship isn't new, but an organisation launched last week aims to give it fresh momentum and support.

The Canterbury Arts & Business Enrichment Partnership Programme (Enrich) is a "match-maker to facilitate practical giving partnerships", founder and director Gillian Wess said.

Wess invites companies and their employees to gift their skills, resources, expertise and time to help arts organisations develop. Many arts organisations chase the same pool of philanthropic funding and sponsorship and cash isn't necessarily what they need, she said.

Contemporary dance troupe Remap generates cash through classes and workshops, but needed advice on the "business side of things," co-founder Erica Viedma said.

Enrich found the Remap dancers an accountant who helped them structure as a corporation, rather than a trust or non-profit, and provides on-going advice. He's "given us a huge amount of help," Viedma said.

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Enrich "acts as the facilitator between arts organisations and companies to identify resources needed and skills available", Wess said. The former general manager of Showbiz Christchurch and Architectural Designers New Zealand introduces prospective parties and monitors any partnerships that form.

There are no formal contracts, but strategic objectives are set and progress measured.

Enrich was its own first client, Wess said. E2 Digital provided branding, website and database expertise as practical gifts.

"It is a concept that we feel may fundamentally change the way business and arts organisations interact with each other, so we decided to embrace it," E2 chief executive Gary Lee said. Christchurch City Council and Creative NZ provided seed funding for an 18-month trial period.

Companies benefit from engaging with artists, Wess told a Ministry of Awesome audience while launching Enrich.

"We don't aim to replace traditional sponsorship but rather to expand the pool of resources available to the arts," Wess said.

The Press