Arts festival battles for funds

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Organisers of the proposed Oamaru Arts Festival have so far raised around $20,000, with two or three applications pending, well short of their goal of $118,000.

Jan Kennedy, event development officer for Tourism Waitaki, said the last of the funding applications would be received mid-late July and a decision on whether to proceed with the new initiative would be made then.

“It was always going to be an ambitious project,” Ms Kennedy said.

If it goes ahead, the festival will take place over a four-week period this summer, with the primary objective to bring the arts outside and make them visible and accessible to the widest possible audience.

The programme is to have a strong visual arts focus, supported by performing and public arts content.

Four special projects will form the basis of the festival: commissioned public art works, an arts trail, a photographic competition and an artists’ bazaar.

The organising committee sent a submission to the Waitaki District Council during the Draft 2014/15 Annual Plan round, requesting funding of $14,151.

Broken down, this included funding for the preparation of public art spaces, development of signage and information boards, programme collection points, festival flags and event marketing.

The request was turned down.

Thunes Cloete, community services group manager for the Waitaki District Council, said the council supported the arts festival and council buildings like the Forrester Gallery and the library would be made available during the event.

He said when the amount asked for in the submission was broken down, he realised that it was going to fall under the umbrella of the new Outdoor Art Policy, currently in draft form.

The policy would create a streamlined process for the placement of art around Oamaru and the district, he said.

“There are other grants that festival organisers can apply for.”

He said often these projects needed to start small, generate momentum and then build in size.

“It is always open for people in the community to contribute financially.”

By LINDA MCCARTHY