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Art lovers call to arms in fight for more Hutt funds

Sep 30th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, Most Popular, News

Artists and art lovers in Hutt Valley are being called to front up to the next council finance and audit meeting and protest.

More direct funding is needed after council allocated a large part of its budget to a new arts position, says Mason Branch, deputy chair of Petone Community Board.

A new contestable fund suggested of $30,000 is not going to be enough to support all art groups in the Hutt, says Mr Branch.

Officers were asked at the last finance and audit meeting to find ways that extra money could be found to increase this fund.

“It’s a shake up in the way the arts will be funded in the Hutt,” Mr Branch says.

He said the changes would be “the death of community arts”.

The creation of a new arts and culture advisor position was approved at the last meeting.

The Hutt Valley Community Arts group has been directly affected by having its funding cut to help finance this position.

Mr Branch says Hutt Valley Community Arts has been working in the community supporting the arts in Hutt Valley for around 40 years.

“Fifty grand is going to be sucked out of the community,” says Mr Branch.

Mr Branch says most art groups in the Hutt support the creation of the arts and culture role, because there is currently no one to talk to or advocate for arts matters.

However, he says not if the only way to do this is by “pulling the financial rug out from under community-based art groups”.

An issue that Hutt Valley Community Arts will now face is having to compete with the very arts groups they have been helping over the years for this contestable funding.

Molly Kennedy, senior commuity development officer at Lower Hutt Council, says it was agreed at the last finance and audit committee meeting that a new Community Arts and Culture advisor position would be created, as well as the new contestable fund for art and culture groups in Hutt Valley for 2013/2014.

“The new position will have a community focus,” says Ms Kennedy.

She says there are currently two main funding pathways available to community groups and artists in the Hutt City on top of the new contestable funding.

“The Creative Communities funding [provided by Creative NZ] gives out $74,000 in projects funding a year,” says Ms Kennedy.

She says that the second option is through contract funding which is only given out by council to a small number of art groups in the city such as Hutt City Brass, and Hutt Valley Community Arts.

Mr Branch wants a show of force at this week’s finance and audit meeting.

“I’m hoping they will increase the funding, and am still hoping that they will agree on more allocated funding for art groups,” says Mr Branch.

Branch says the arts community needs to show the committee exactly who will be affected by their decisions.

The next finance and audit meeting is at 5.30pm on Thursday at the Lower Hutt Council Chambers.

Image: Hutt Valley Community Arts





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