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Replacement small grants scheme announced at Arts Council AGM

September 17th, 2010

The Motueka Arts Council has announced a new small grants scheme to replace TDC's 10-year-old Creative Communities Grant Scheme, which was discontinued in July, to help local arts groups put on events or programmes that increase participation in the arts within the Motueka Community.

Details of the new scheme were announced at the Arts Council's Annual General Meeting held this Tuesday. Amounts of up to $500 may be granted to the population residing within the Motueka Ward of TDC plus the settlements of Tasman and Kina.

Last year the Arts Council administered a total of $5,070.00 of Encouragement Grants to Lower Moutere School, Mapua District Community Group, Motueka Recreation Centre, Mapua Art Group, Riverside Community, Ukes of Hazzard, Graham Valley School, Motueka Camera Club, Motueka Writers Workshop, Motueka Music Group, Motueka Floral Art Circle, Motueka Pottery Workshop and Lower Moutere School.

In future, the larger Creative Communities grants will be managed by the TDC, with an elected committee as they have in the past. That committee will meet four times a year (instead of two) and local groups, who are used to the monthly applications, will have to be more forward looking to meet the new deadlines. The grant money is still there and will cover larger requests, but planning ahead is needed to access it for this community. The new local scheme will be funded from interest off the Council's capital. Those interested in the criteria for grants should click here »

The meeting was also told that work is under way to establish a database of arts groups and individuals in the area, firstly to make contact, but also to join together to coordinate arts-related activities and gain more publicity for arts events. Response to this initiative has been slow, and chairperson Freda Gerslov said they are not positive at this stage about the outcome.

Another matter that has concerned the Arts Council over the past year has been the town's streetscape, which continues to take time and energy. "It is 10 years since the streetscape was developed and wear and tear as well as vandalism has taken its toll on the street furniture," Freda said.

"Last winter, we managed to upgrade the seats on the west side of High Street, and I hope that the east side will get attention soon. Somehow, the bins are gradually disappearing, presumably under Council instructions possibly resulting from damage by contractors.

"The Arts Council could not ignore the damage done by the contractors at the recent road-side 'destruction' near Tudor Street, but in the end the Tasman Council has been mindful of its responsibilities and has taken steps to re-site the seats and bins.

"However, the town is changing and it will be necessary to review the streetscape in the coming months so that Motueka can have a voice in how the street may be developed to accommodate pedestrians, both local and visiting, in safety.

"It is encouraging to note that Our Town Motueka has similar concerns and we do hope we can work together to ensure the continuing upkeep and extension of the unique streetscaping. The Arts Council is delighted to see that the recently installed town signage also reflects the streetscape river theme and thank the Our Town Committee for their perseverance in this long-running project."

Finally, Freda spoke of her decision to stand down from her organisational activities. "I have had 12 happy years involvement with the Arts Council, 11 as secretary, but feel the time is right for me to move on," she said. "New members, new and fresh ideas are needed to continue the valuable work of the Arts Council in the future and I wish you well."

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