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Saturday, 20 December 2014 04:40 pm

Wellington artists get ready for another cycle

GRASSROOTS artists are displaying their talents for Wellington City Council in the hopes of achieving funding.

The Creative Communities Scheme — a joint venture between the council and Creative New Zealand – is making the first of its twice-yearly grants to Wellington artists whose works are available and accessible for public enjoyment. Applications for this round close at the end of February.

“The Creative Communities Scheme is a great addition to the funding we provide through our cultural grants,” says council funding leader Mark Farrar.

“They really help get projects off the ground and serve to give artists and performers a start.

“This complements our own arts and culture strategy– a key part of which is around nurturing emerging talent.”

Artists are judged on how their projects will promote the arts to local communities and young people, including support for diversity and traditions.

Tom Truss, who received a grant in last August’s  funding round, loved the idea of an interactive audience, so he and several others devised Wheels of Justice, a project which is now part of the Fringe Festival.

As the director, Truss, right,  received $1000 funding from the council and is soon to launch the project around Te Aro and the CBD.

Wheels of Justice is a collaborative murder-mystery play which requires the audience to split into three groups headed by a detective, and use bikes as transport to travel around different “sets” where the actors give information about the killer.

“Some people say it’s like Cluedo on bikes. I don’t know if that is really true, but that’s how it has been described,” Tom says.   “I love the idea that anything can become part of the play, that man walking next to you could be a pedestrian or actor.”

Although still in love with traditional theatres and the atmosphere that goes with them, Truss was inspired by Wellington street art after moving here from the United States last May. He is planning to use the interactive play as a means of promotion for cycling and getting more people to get on their bikes.

Truss has had a passion for the arts since he was a child, but he says that getting funding in places such as Washington D.C. is quite hard compared with New Zealand.

Washington D.C. has a population of more than six million and is roughly the same size as New Zealand, and Truss says there are far more artists and less money.

“Here they have more funding and fewer artists, almost everyone gets funding. I have never heard of that in the States.”

Truss says his experience with Creative Communities and the WCC, particularly Mark Farrar, has been a good one. He was surprised at how simple it was to apply for a grant and how receptive the councillors were.

Mr Farrar says the Creative Communities Scheme has been very successful.  “In the last funding round (August 2012), we had 56 applications. In total these applications requested $174,000 of funding. Of these applications, 31 were funded, with a total of $59,107. These grants ranged from $400 through to $3500.”

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