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Arts Activity Management Plan

Executive Summary

This plan updates the 2015-2025 Arts Activity Management Plan. It covers the performing and visual arts either produced* by Council, or significantly supported by Council.

A change of direction for management of The Nelson Arts Festival, including the Masked Parade and Readers & Writers programme, was adopted in the Long Term Plan. From 2017 these events will be overseen by an independent governance structure. Council will continue to manage Summer in Nelson, Opera in the Park and other community events.

The commissioning of public art by local bodies is often controversial; the Council has identified priority sites for public art in the city and uses the Arts Policy 2010 guidelines. Of the 64 artworks owned by Council listed in Appendix 1, 55 were by artists of the Nelson Region, 4 were overseas artists and the rest of them were from other parts of New Zealand.

Participation in the arts is stimulated by promotional activity and information. The Council provides information through, for example, signage and arts mapping. In 2014/15 a closer working relationship has been established with the Arts Council Nelson to support community involvement, administer the allocation of the Council Arts fund and manage the Refinery arts space. Other significant arts partnerships are listed in this plan as they provide opportunities for leverage for Council, which has limited resources for arts activity.

One of the most successful Nelson events is the Adam Chamber Music Festival, presented by the Nelson Music Festival Trust every two years. Through the Economic Development Agency the Council funds arts activity in the winter and shoulder seasons which have an economic impact such as the Art Expo, which started in 2012 and Light Nelson, an outdoor light-themed exhibition, will receive additional funding from 2015 to support the development of this biennial event.

The Bishop Suter Art Gallery (Suter), Theatre Royal (Theatre) and Nelson School of Music (NSOM) facilities are all reliant on Council funding, even though they are not Council assets. An ongoing challenge for Council is to adequately influence the delivery of outcomes from this funding through contracts and Statements of Intent. NSOM has the added challenge of costs of earthquake strengthening.

For local and visiting performers there has been a temporary shortage of venues due to the closure of the NSOM and the Trafalgar Centre which is now due to reopen early 2016. Other factors such as population growth, new technology, an ageing population, partnerships with iwi, and changing fund sources present both challenges and opportunities for arts activity in Nelson. Council endorses the bid by Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Maui Maori Culture Council to to host the Te Matatini Kapa Haka Competitions in 2025 in Nelson will see an influx of 30,000 visitors for this cultural event.

Some non-Council funded visual art projects and facilities have emerged recently. For example, an international graffiti artist’s work now features on three city sites, and St John’s (a decommissioned church building) has been established as a venue. These activities extend the range of arts to participate in, and alongside Council initiatives, add value to the Nelson identity.

* A producer creates events, or contracts artist/shows to create events, then promotes them and takes on the financial risk. Sometimes the word ‘presenter’ is used, but this generally implies less, or a shared, financial responsibility. 

Arts Activity Management Plan 15 Oct 2015 (2.1MB PDF)