Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Talk back

While you were sleeping Creative NZ got a focus group together to advise it on what should be done with the visual arts. It has now released a draft report and wants your thoughts before it writes a final report for the Arts Council.

Ok, all this might seem a little abstract but what ever the Council approves will be put into action from January next year. And at this stage there are some significant changes in the wind.

You can tell who's who in CNZ's world by the make up of the focus group:
4 from art institutions (including Chartwell)
3 from tertiary institutions
2 from the commercial world (dealer and art fair)
1 representing ‘non commercial exhibition spaces’
1 practising artist

Oh, and two more art institution people who somehow joined in the discussions.

So not surprising the key driver in the document is Organisational Leverage. Creative NZ wants to team up with the existing arts infrastructure in NZ (art museums, universities) to spread its money further. Looking at you Artspace and Physics room.

To get to the good stuff check out the series of 'options.' You can read and respond here.

Red flags? A trend to greater centralisation, more bureaucracy and support of the status quo, aka art museums and tertiary education. As an organising idea leverage has one big negative - to reach agreement among participating organisations they tend to support the same projects with the same people around the same ideas that have already been proved successful.

Watch out for:
•    A strong indication that independent art spaces may be under attack for future funding. The options are complex but two possibilities are some kind of centralised organisation to manage experimental work  in non-commercial exhibition spaces and CNZ focusing its visual arts support via regional art museums and artist-run space.

•    Boosted support for international initiatives including artist residencies and the Venice Biennale

•    A proposal for $120,000 king-hit grants over two years for “established” artists

•    A concerted push to give more support to public art museums through artist residencies, curatorial internships, international projects in NZ, publications and organised talking. It's the leverage thing.

•    And most positively the idea of funding being “more tightly targeted towards independent artists who don’t have access to institutional resources, such as studio facilities and research funds for creative projects and publications."

Plus, hilariously “We propose to support a greater level of collaboration between New Zealand institutions”

Good luck with that