ICC going it alone with arts centre

Kathryn McCully
Kathryn McCully
The Invercargill City Council (ICC) opted to pursue its own arts centre despite the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) offering to collaborate on just one, an SIT staff member says.

The SIT announced its intention to develop a $15million creative centre in August, after the ICC decided against collaborating with the institute on a single project to pursue its own $16million arts centre.

SIT programme manager for creative industries Kathryn McCully said the SIT approached the council to discuss the possibility of a combined project.

``We saw the art gallery-museum model these days as being much more about education than it has ever been, hence seeing the kind of potential that could be in a partnership,'' she said.

Invercargill deputy mayor Rebecca Amundsen said the council's Arts and Creativity for Invercargill (ACI) centre had been planned for a ``very specific purpose'' and consultant Tim Walker, who was developing ACI, suggested the SIT's plan would not fit that purpose.

``The purpose of ACI, which came out of the [Southland Regional Development Strategy], was to contribute to the rejuvenation of the inner city.

``[Tim Walker] felt that what was being proposed by SIT was not going to tick enough boxes to be able to say it was contributing to the rejuvenation of the inner city,'' Ms Amundsen said.

ACI would have more of a community focus, while the SIT's art centre would mainly cater to students and education, she said.

However, the SIT's art centre would cater to the community also, Mrs McCully said.

``We want to get a bit more involved in community education in terms of providing young people with opportunities to attend workshops in animation, et cetera, before they hit that tertiary education.

``Our main focus is on education and production. Will we fulfil some of those [community-oriented] things through that? Most likely.''

While Ms Amundsen believed there would be no ``overlap'' between the two centres, the ICC did not know much detail about what the SIT would be providing, and did not know if the two would have some clashes.

``They haven't provided us with a business case or anything like that, so we really only know the bits that we've been told and what we've read in the newspapers. So I guess we really need to cross that bridge when we come to it.''

 - by Sharon Reece

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