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Arts Strategy being planned for the Coromandel

05 December 2014

Connecting and promoting Coromandel artists will be the focus of a workshop being developed for early next year and will lead into work on an Arts Strategy for the Coromandel.

Our Chief Executive David Hammond invited Creative Waikato Chief Executive Sarah Nathan to meet earlier this week to discuss opportunities and stronger promotion of local Coromandel artists.

"On the Coromandel we are really lucky to have many of the country's top artists and artisans living here, and that is spilling out into our public art across the District," says Mr Hammond.  "Ms Nathan also told me of her passion for the Coromandel which she sees alongside Raglan as top Waikato art hotspots. Creative Waikato wants to see arts flourish here, and see a Coromandel Arts Strategy as a first step

The visit comes as Creative Waikato releases its Creative Facilities Plan this week, which focuses on the development of facilities around the Waikato.

Our Council expressed disappointment that the consultant document provided to Creative Waikato lacked the vision to understand the significance of Thames and Coromandel to the future Waikato and national arts community.

"The Creative Facilities Plan was a good eye-opener for us," says Mr Hammond. "It showed that the Coromandel was well supported by Auckland and Tauranga people, but not strongly from Hamilton. The growing partnership we have with Auckland City is clearly strategic."

We welcome the focus on putting together an Arts Strategy and will look to host a workshop on the Coromandel for early 2015 with Creative Waikato. The workshop will invite arts groups from around our District.

"The timing is very good as recently we hosted ATEED in the District. Auckland is keen for the Peninsula to provide a strong arts and food sector to be a bit like the Nelson experience, on their doorstep. It's exciting to think what the opportunities could be! We've also been approached by the Mercury Bay Arts Escape Trust asking for Council support on an Arts Strategy," says Mr Hammond.

The Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust will approach and work with other Arts groups around the Coromandel including representatives from Tairua, Pauanui and Whangamata, the Coromandel Arts Tour and the Thames Society of Arts people to investigate the best way to start developing an overarching Arts Strategy for the entire Coromandel.

"The recommendation has been that right now the Trust starts by making a submission to our upcoming Long-Term Plan when it opens in early 2015," says Mr Hammond. "This is to ensure we can allocate staff resource and funding to help formulate an official policy, working with all the Arts groups around the district," says Mr Hammond. "Any Arts Strategy needs to be developed from the community up."

Councillor Diane Connors will be leading the development of an Arts Strategy with support from our Economic Development Programme Manager Ben Dunbar-Smith and community development officer Marlene Perry.

"My focus is on ensuring Council has some over-arching strategy to support a wide variety of arts in the Coromandel," says Councillor Connors. "I strongly believe that creativity adds to the quality of life - whether you participate or share the experience of it. We have such a wealth of talent living in our communities (some internationally renowned artists) - from singer/songwriters, sculptors, painters, potters, actors, dancers and body artists. I want us to not only acknowledge what we have but nurture it, celebrate it and showcase it," she says.
"There are both economic and social benefits to a vibrant arts sector and I envisage that an Arts Strategy will help council to identify how we can strengthen and support the arts in the Coromandel Peninsula. My passion is to encourage more events and encourage more outdoor art pieces," she says.



Find out more

Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust -

Coromandel Arts Tour -

Thames Society of Arts -

Waikato Regional Council's creative facilities plan can be viewed here