Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Five things to do tomorrow

It’s now nearly a month since the second disastrous earthquake in Christchurch and it is time for the Minister of Arts & Culture and his Wellington bureaucrats to get off their bums. Why they haven’t done so already is hard to understand and a disappointing but we might as well get over it. As with any critical project we need a list so here’s a start. Five things to do tomorrow.

Get your top three cultural bureaucrats down to Christchurch this week. Their job would be to listen to the arts community and find out what it is they need. They will know.

Put culture on the agenda for rebuilding Christchurch, and keep it there. The infrastructure of a sustainable city needs culture – and if you don’t believe that how the hell is anyone else going to?

Ask Hamish Keith (nicely) if he would let you put some serious resources behind It could then include all the arts, theatre props, musical instruments, manuscripts, costumes etc. Next (quickly) build a site that will work for Christchurch and later be incorporated into the standard emergency response for New Zealand, and any other country that wants to use it.

Develop an idea that the rest of us can get behind by way of a cultural gift to Christchurch, something that will express the rest of the country’s belief in their future. How about a piano with a standing bull on it for the front of the Christchurch Art Gallery? The piano to signify the enduring role Christchurch’s culture plays in our country and the bull to remind us of the spirit the city has shown over the last months.

Apologise that you allowed COCA to close and make its staff redundant at such a terrible time. Then ask them if they would be prepared to come back and be funded to open in a temporary space somewhere else in the city.