Strategy to strengthen region’s art sector

Arts Murihiku chairman Paul Duffy with convener Mary-Jane Rivers during launch of the Regional Arts Strategy in Invercargill. Photo: Luisa Girao
Arts Murihiku chairman Paul Duffy with convener Mary-Jane Rivers during launch of the Regional Arts Strategy in Invercargill. Photo: Luisa Girao
Strengthening the art sector in the southern region is the aim of a plan released in Invercargill.

The Arts Murihiku Trust on Monday launched the Murihiku Regional Arts Strategy 2020-30 during its annual general meeting.

The document covers the South region including Southland, Queenstown and West Otago.

Chairman Paul Duffy said the main goal was to document on paper the important elements from the trust.

He said the plan required vision, direction and a lot of hard work.

‘‘The strategy was commissioned by Arts Murihiku as part of our requirements under the Southland Regional Arts Pilot directed and funded by Creative New Zealand.

‘‘In some way it reinforces what we already knew, but it also identifies four pillars which we will be focusing on.’’

Among these themes were Toi te whenua, toi te mana (celebrate our identity), whakapapa (strengthen creative connections), taonga (arts and culture values and supported at the centre) and whare toi (building today for a thriving creative future).

The trust goal for next year was to understand events in the region and help them to grow.

‘‘Of course we would like to bring more cultural events to the region but we already have a great range of options here — we want make them grow.’’

The trust engaged Mary-Jane Rivers for the strategy. She interviewed dozens in the arts community including iwi and councils, as well as funding and events organisers. She saw huge potential.

‘‘The strategy is an opportunity for leaders of the regions to start a conversation and work together to become stronger and better in the region’s art sector.’’

During her research, she heard a lot about the closure of the Southland Museum and Art Gallery and the Anderson Park Art Gallery.

She said the majority of the comments had conveyed sadness but other comments celebrated the creation of an interim space.

Mr Duffy said the museum was ‘‘outside the trust brief’’.

‘‘However, we want to see a strong arts scene in the region and the museum and art gallery are a big part of that. We hope this strategy could work as building blocks towards that.’’

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