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South Island hosts exciting arts events

Creative New Zealand  |30 May . 2000

The South Island will host a range of exciting and innovative arts events this year, many of them supported by grants in the latest funding round of the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand.

While Otago is preparing for its Festival of the Arts in October, Christchurch is gearing up for a feast of visual arts. At the same time, Nelson is making the most of its popular Wearable Art Awards by organising its sixth arts festival in September to coincide with the Awards.

The Robert McDougall Gallery, Arts and Industry 2000 and the High St Project are three organisations working towards presenting a range of visual arts in Christchurch in late 2000 to celebrate the new millennium.

Announcing the grants this week, Arts Board Chair Christopher Finlayson said he was impressed by the energy and commitment of South Island arts groups, which were organising various high-quality and innovative arts events that would attract visitors from beyond their regions.

The Arts Board was in the middle of its two-day meeting to decide on project funding when Prime Minister Helen Clark announced the Government’s $86 million funding package to the arts and cultural sector. Creative New Zealand received a one-off sum of $20 million and in mid-June, it will be announcing details of its Future Strengths and Seriously Maori strategies, plus new initiatives supporting individual artists.

In this funding round, the Arts Board received a total of 639 applications for grants requesting more than $9.5 million. In the end, the Board offered 213 grants totalling $2.45 million.

The Robert McDougall Gallery was offered two grants supporting Colloquium, a three-part review (exhibitions, publications and a symposium) of post-object and performance art in New Zealand since 1970. A grant of $8000 was offered for speakers and performances at the November symposium while a grant of $6750 will support the publications to accompany the Colloquium exhibition.

Colloquium, a partnership between the gallery and the University of Canterbury, will run from 6 October to 14 January 2001.

“This event will make a valuable contribution towards documenting New Zealand’s contemporary art history, and will also encourage debate and dialogue,” Mr Finlayson said.

Arts and Industry 2000, organisers of the inaugural visual arts biennale in Christchurch, will run from 23 September to 31 December and showcase specially commissioned artworks in public sites around Christchurch.

Along with a $7000 grant from the Pacific Islands Arts Committee to support Michel Tuffery’s participation in the biennale, Art and Industry 2000 was offered two grants from the Arts Board. These were:

 $10,000 towards the exhibition Kabakov’s Monument to a Lost Civilisation, the first major project by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov to be seen in New Zealand

 $5000 to commission new writing for a publication to accompany the exhibition Traditions of the New.

Support for young, emerging visual artists in Christchurch was seen in grants to the High Street Project, an artist-run space for emerging artists and experimental art. A grant of $8000 was offered to commission 20 artists to create new work for an exhibition called Avon, to open in October. A small $800 grant will be used to commission new work for a series of exhibitions called 4X2- Outside the Frame, opening in August.

Also supporting emerging artists is a grant of $3500 to Emma Bugden of Christchurch to help curate Cool Runnings, an exhibition showcasing the work of emerging New Zealand visual artists at the Stuff Gallery in London, August 2000.

Also in August, former Christchurch musician Mark Walton will return home from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to tutor a weekend workshop aimed at developing the skills of clarinet and saxophone teachers, and the ensemble playing of its student participants.

This is the fifth South Island Wind Festival that the Waimakariri Community Arts Council has organised and it was offered $1900 towards this year’s event.

In the Otago region, the largest grant of $100,000 was offered to Good Company, a contemporary dance company directed by Daniel Belton. The grant supports the premiere season of Soundings at the inaugural Otago Festival of the Arts, to be held in Dunedin in October, followed by two performances in Wellington.

Another highlight of the Otago Festival of the Arts will be a concert premiering Dunedin composer Anthony Ritchie’s Southern Journeys. “It will be an occasion of spectacular triumphs and a night to remember,” promises Festival director Nicholas McBryde.

A grant of $10,000 was offered to the Festival of the Arts towards the cost of premiering this work. Produced in association with the Dunedin Sinfonia and Natural History New Zealand, the concert will follow the multi-media style of its earlier successful collaboration, Sinfonia Antartica – only this time, it will be New Zealand music.

Last year, the Dunedin Sinfonia received a $25,000 grant from the Lottery General Millennium Sub-Committee to commission Ritchie to compose Southern Journeys.

Other grants to the Otago Festival totalling $14,500 support the performances by Black Grace Dance Company, the South Island premiere of Jacob Rajan’s The Candlestickmaker, and other New Zealand performers and music.

Protago Opera was offered $8000 to present performances of two new one-act operas at the Otago Festival of the Arts. This is the first production of Protago, a company formed by Dunedin artists Louise Petherbridge, Anthony Ritchie and John Drummond to bring innovative, contemporary music theatre to Dunedin and the rest of the region. Following the festival, the company plans to tour the work to Central Otago.

Dunedin artist Jo Ogier, along with Margaret Dawson (Christchurch) and Nicholas Twist (Wellington) have been selected as the Southland Art Foundation’s artists-in-residence for 2000. Based in Invercargill, the Foundation was offered $15,000 towards its artist-in-residence programme, now known as the William Hodges Fellowship.

“These artist will be able to develop their work in response to the Southland environment, and share their working processes with the local community and students,” said Wayne Marriott, a trustee of the Southland Art Foundation. “They will also exhibit their new work in the Southland Museum and Art Gallery, and tour it throughout the region.”

This will take in Stewart Island, Te Anau, Queenstown and Gore.

In Nelson, the successful and high-profile event, New Zealand Wearable Art Awards, was supported with grants totalling $27,000. This includes the production and rehearsal of puppets; the performance of original works by Philip Colson and From Scratch; and the choreography.

The Arts Council of Nelson, in partnership with the Nelson Arts Festival, is keen to extend theatre opportunities by touring a professional New Zealand theatre work to smaller regional towns. The Council was offered $4980 towards its Top of the South tour of Stephen Papps and Stephen Sinclair’s Blowing It, one of the three New Zealand plays featuring in the 2000 festival from 15-24 September.

Christopher Finlayson commended the Arts Council for its initiative in providing smaller towns with access to professional theatre by New Zealand playwrights.

“Not only does it extend the life of these important plays, it is wonderful that people in areas such as Greymouth and Golden Bay will be able to see them,” he said. “These touring projects will have long-term spin-offs by developing new audiences for New Zealand theatre.”

Other grants to South Islands artists and arts organisations include:

 $10,000 to the New Zealand Society of Potters, based in Christchurch, towards a series of workshops – five in the South Island byWhangarei potter Greg Barron, and six in the North Island by Nelson potter Meg Latham

 $20,000 to the Brass Bands Association of New Zealand, based in Christchurch, towards its youth development programme and the National Brass Band course in January 2001

 $7500 to Theatre News of Christchurch towards its publication of Theatre News in 2000-2001

 $14,000 to the Christchurch Polytechnic towards a craft exhibition and symposium

 $1200 to the Christchurch Youth Orchestra to commission a concerto for cello and orchestra by Christchurch composer Patrick Shepherd

 $5100 to Serenade of Christchurch to present a programme of music to East Coast schools

 $7000 to Otago Polytechnic towards its 2000 residency of Scottish artist Roger Palmer, plus a national tour

 $10,000 to David John and Kevin Lynch of Arrowtown, Otago to produce a professional orchestration of Rush! to market the musical

 $2500 to the University of Otago Press to publish a book of poems by Cilla McQueen

 $5000 to Longacre Press of Dunedin to publish novels by Bernard Beckett and William Taylor

 $15,000 to the Hocken Library towards exhibitions and a seminar on Rita Angus in November 2000

 $15,000 to Nelson Polytechnic towards two artist residencies in 2001 (Australian fibre artist Ruth Hadlow and Auckland multi-media artist Maureen Lander)

 $5000 to Cape Catley of Malborough Sounds to publish a children’s novel by Ged Maybury and a novel by Rhonda Bartle

A complete list of the grants (Arts Board, Te Waka Toi and Pacific Islands Arts Committee) will be available on Creative New Zealand’s website ( by mid-June. The list will also be published with the next issue of the magazine On Arts.

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