Fringe arts trust seeking changes to council funding

Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust co-directors Kate Schrader (left) and Ruth Harvey want the creative...
Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust co-directors Kate Schrader (left) and Ruth Harvey want the creative needs of the city’s artistic community to be met. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Increasing Dunedin City Council funding for the arts and culture sector will help bring about a "vibrant, connected, liveable, healthy and thriving" community.

At the council’s annual plan submissions hearing yesterday, Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust co-directors Ruth Harvey and Kate Schrader sought changes to the council’s methods of funding for the arts.

The current mode of funding made it difficult for them to effectively meet the needs of the artistic community, they said.

They wanted a move to multi-year, general operating, trust-based funding for established organisations.

"We can’t emphasise enough the negative impact inadequate levels of funding has and how damaging in particular project-based funding is when we’re actually a year-round organisation," Ms Harvey said.

Ms Schrader said the trust hired five production and marketing contractors in December to assist with the Dunedin Fringe Festival, but let them go in April because they were hired on a project-based contract.

"It’s a waste of time, talent and money to have to let go of trained contractors when new ones are needed within a month or two.

"Project-based funding only lets us do the bare minimum to make these projects successful," Ms Schrader said

Each year the trust applied for three sources of grants split over two separate teams, she said.

"Imagine if we only needed to do that once ... How much time we would save on both sides and the security and evolution we can have in our programmes."

Ms Harvey also asked the council to explore proposals to renovate the Playhouse, New Athenaeum and Mayfair theatres and to continue working with the Save Dunedin Live Music campaign to solve the issue of venue losses.

"Multiple solutions will be needed to support a vibrant ecosystem of both community and professional performing arts and music."

Ms Schrader said general operating costs, which the trust usually applied for under the city services grants, totalled between $30,000 and $40,000.

She reiterated the trust had been operating at a "subsistence level at survival mode" for the past few years.