Aspiration laid out in arts master plan

Attending the arts strategy launch at Queenstown Contemporary gallery last night were (from left)...
Attending the arts strategy launch at Queenstown Contemporary gallery last night were (from left) Queenstown-Lakes Mayor Jim Boult, Three Lakes Cultural Trust administrator Jo Brown and Three Lakes Cultural Trust chairman Bill Moran. PHOTO: PHILIP CHANDLER
A lack of facilities and professional input are highlighted in a report on the Lakes District’s arts and cultural scene, prepared for the newly formed Three Lakes Cultural Trust.

A master plan intended to invigorate the arts was unveiled in Queenstown last night by the trust, which is chaired by Queenstown businessman Bill Moran, and has patrons Sir Eion and Lady Jan Edgar.

The trust commissioned consultants AEA Consulting to produce the district’s first independent cultural master plan.

Mr Moran said it would serve as a "benchmarking tool" for the progression of arts and culture in the district.

In its report, AEA said it found most arts organisations and events were "relatively hand to mouth", and so were challenged to maintain their viability.

There was a lack of affordable space for those in the "creative professions" wanting to live and work in the district.

"Professional producing and presenting is relatively weak," the consultants found, and there was a need for a purpose-built facility for the performing arts and for exhibitions.

AEA noted a strong desire to build a "stronger, decentralised, well-connected and more professionalised" arts sector.

AEA suggested cultural initiatives should be "environmentally benign and economically sustainable".

Mayor Jim Boult said the master plan addressed "a glaring omission in the fabric of our district" — "our district is known as the ‘adventure capital’ of the world ... the arts have always struggled to find their rightful place in the spotlight."

The trust wants feedback and will hold meetings in Glenorchy, Queenstown and Wanaka next month.

"We want to ensure we accurately represent the needs of the communities of the Queenstown Lakes through this cultural master plan," Mr Moran said.

Members of the trust are Mr Moran, Carroll Joynes, Jay Cassells, Hetty Van Hale, Bob Berry, Leslie Van Gelder, Julian Knights, Abby McCormick O’Neil and Annis Somerville.

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