Funding needed for arts strategy

Dunedin City Council staff have indicated a strategy aimed at boosting arts and culture in the city will require fresh funding.

Councillors will today vote on whether to adopt a final arts and culture strategy, following public consultation on a draft strategy last year.

The strategy - called ''Ara Toi Otepoti: Our Creative Future'' - sets out a vision of Dunedin as one of the ''world's great small cities with arts and culture at its core'' and aims to build on what was already a ''tremendous foundation'' in the area.

However, council staff indicated in a report fresh funding would be needed to make the strategy work as intended.

''It has become clear that to ensure Ara Toi is a living strategy there is a need to put in place resourcing, both staff and budget, to embed its implementation in the early years,'' the report said.

Councillors will be presented with options for funding the strategy as part of next month's long term plan deliberations.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said he was unsure how much funding would be sought for the strategy, but a need for funding was to be expected with any new strategy.

The funding would either need to be from savings elsewhere in the long term plan or through rates increases.

The strategy councillors will vote on today highlighted the existing strength of Dunedin's art and culture.

The strategy contained comments from some of those working in the sector, including NOM*d and Plume creative director Margarita Robertson, who said Dunedin had a laid-back feel, yet was alive with ''culture and individualism''.

''I love it when we get visitors who have never been here before and are so surprised about how great it is, and genuinely express those feelings back in their own cities.

''It makes me proud to have made the decision to stay here,'' she said.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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