Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cash offer

We can all agree on one thing, the NZ at Venice Patrons know how to raise money. They can usually anything up to $400,000 to the $650,000 that the Government puts into Venice via Creative NZ. While there are a few very generous patrons most of the 63 listed last year stumped up with $5,000. It’s a sweet deal. Patrons usually get a free signed limited edition print donated by the artist, a copy of the catalogue, a couple of free tickets to the hard-to-get-into Biennale opening days, access to other elite Venice events as well as glam lunches put on by the dealers and others trying to leverage their good favour. You can join up here.

Potential patrons are traditionally wooed at functions held around the country with drinks and nibbles in a palatial residence and the artist and curator in tow to sweet talk the crowd. There not being so many rich people in Dunedin the usual thing has been to hold functions in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland but this year in preparation for Venice 2015 word is that Wellington will be given the swerve. You can see the logic when you look at the patron list. It’s pretty much an Auckland club with a few heavy hitters from Christchurch. Wellington’s contribution has tended to be in the less sexy area of administration and intangibles of influence on the Government's $600,000 although this year both the commissioner (Heather Galbraith) and the curator (Robert Leonard) are based in Wellington. In earlier times patronage used to include a wide range of support for a project along with the financial but for Venice you get the feeling cash is clearly king.