$10,000 heritage grant for Dunedin street art

The artists are lining up for Dunedin's first street art festival in October, and the city council is lining up to support them too, to the tune of $10,000.

Although festival organisers are reluctant to verify the entire list of 11 artists already confirmed, they say the line-up includes six New Zealander artists, including Wellingtonian Mica Still and Dunedin men Sean Duffel, aka Ghstie, and Jon Thom.

International street artists Pixel Pancho and Phlegm, who returns after painting walls of several city buildings earlier this year, have also been confirmed.

Crowd-sourcing to raise enough money to bring South African artist Dal East to the city is also going well, with $1500 still required.

The festival is being organised by a group of volunteers called Dunedin Street Art.

Member Justin Cashell said that while most of the funding for the artworks has come from private sources, including building owners and online fundraising, the city council was contributing too.

Heritage planner Dr Glen Hazelton, who has also been helping out with the festival in a private capacity, said the council had granted a $10,000 central city heritage reuse grant to the owner of the Chipmunks building to bring Italian street artist Pixel Pancho to Dunedin to paint the prominent north wall of the building.

He said the contestable $100,000 grant scheme was available for heritage reuse projects, including facade improvements that would contribute to a more compelling space.

The grants were approved by the council's executive leadership team.

Mr Cashell, who works in branding and marketing at Enterprise Dunedin, said that organisation was funding a piece by English street artist Phlegm.

He said the $6000 investment to bring Phlegm to Dunedin was worth it because: it was a discount on Phlegm's usual rates, because he had enjoyed his previous visit, signing him encouraged private building owners to invest in other works, and the coverage it got internationally would be worth a lot to the city.

He believed the works would attract people to visit the city and help raise Dunedin's profile online, as the artists promoted the city through their channels.

''I don't think people realise just how much the coverage Dunedin has had [from the art already done by artists Roa and Phlegm] is worth.

"It is worth thousands. We have been put on blogs. Some of these works will end up in books. Artists will do prints of their works.''

Having international artists working beside local artists raised the credibility of the festival and a future street art trail, boosted local artists' works' credibility, and could inspire local artists to have work more publicly visible.

Dr Hazelton said investing in the works was a positive if they attracted people to see them, involved people in their city and improved the city's look.

''It makes it attractive for visitors and for people in the area who have looked at a blank wall for the past 25 years.

"They will now have something that will attract people to the area to go [and] look [at] that can hopefully support businesses around it as well.''

debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

'Heritage reuse grant'?

...the council had granted a $10,000 central city heritage reuse grant...

From which council budget or grants fund did the council's '$10,000 donation' come from? Let's spell it out.

An applied paint finish on a privately owned painted and plastered wall is clearly not adaptive reuse or heritage reuse. Why wasn't this council money granted to a genuine property owner (community organisation or private owner) for seismic strengthening or repair and replacement of heritage fabric on a district plan listed or registered heritage building? Priorities?

[Note too, maintenance work - one-off or cyclical - isn't eligible for community grants from the city council or from the independently administered Dunedin Heritage Fund. Or have the rules conveniently changed recently?]

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