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Farsite Gallery heading for closure after council decisions

Oct 26th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

Hutt Valley Community Arts is considering closing its Farsite Art Gallery because of funding cuts.

A final appeal for more funds was turned down at this month’s Hutt City Council finance and audit committee meeting.

“There have been thoughts [within the Hutt Valley community Arts committee] of getting rid of the gallery at the end of the year to help pay for wages,” says Mason Branch, deputy chair of Petone Community Board.

“I’ve been trying to encourage to push this out till March 2013,” Mr Branch sais.

The gallery, which provides local artists with exhibition space and for groups to show collaborative projects, had its funding council funding cut this year to pay for an arts co-ordinator at the council.

Five supporters joined Mr Branch in a presentation encouraging the committee to increase funding to help Hutt Valley Community Arts continue with its work.

“I don’t think we were listened to. I think the decision was already made and that people were just going through the motions,” says Mr Branch.

“It’s too easy to sweep us under the carpet if we don’t have a presence in the community.”

The recommendation for a new contestable fund of $30,000 to help with the arts in the Hutt was passed by the committee, but there was no extra funding being added to it despite some concerns of what it will mean for arts in the area.

It is feared that opportunities will be lost for people who want to be part of the arts in the Hutt Valley but may not be able to afford it otherwise, Mr Branch says

One example is the holiday programs that are run by Hutt Valley Community Arts for $5, for kids that really need these programs.

In comparison similar programmes are charging up to $40, Mr Branch says.

The extent of the full impact these decisions will have on Hutt Valley Community Arts is still uncertain.

“So right now we are in a holding pattern till the end of the year,” says Mr Branch.

“We need to rally the troops, and need a really good display of support from anyone who has benefited from Hutt Valley Community Arts programmes.”

Sian Torrington, arts facilitator for Hutt Valley Community Arts says they are proposing The Hutt City Council meets them half way with the funding needed to keep them running.

“Because we’re needing to look for alternative funding, which is fine, the amount of money we need may be too large to find ourselves,” says Ms Torrington.

Molly Kennedy, senior community development officer at Lower Hutt Council says recommendations were put forward at the finance and audit meeting for there to be an increase in the arts funding from next year.

“Should this be taken up by the council, changes and addition to the funding may be looked at,” says Ms Kennedy.

Ms Kennedy says the public will be able to give their own submissions to council on this issue during the Lower Hutt Council Annual Plan process early in 2013.

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