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Value of art discussed at Arts Council AGM

February 27th, 2014
[by David Armstrong]

A panel discussion on the value of having art in Motueka topped off an otherwise routine Annual general meeting of the Motueka Arts Council (MAC) on Tuesday.

The meeting also marked the official launch of the updated edition of the Motueka Art Walk flyer (pictured) which includes recent additions to the Motueka public art scene.

The new flyer is distributed to all local tourist facilities including motels, the i-Site and retail outlets, and guides people interested in public art around the town. Importantly, it adds information and explanations as to the significance of many works.

The Arts Council paid for much of the reprinting itself ($1828.50) after all its grant applications, apart from $500 from the Community Board, were turned down. Mary Nichols, who oversaw the update project, untied the ribbon binding the first batch of brochures.

MAC re-appointed the same officers and trustees for the 2014 year, and gained a few new committee members this year.

In her report to the meeting, MAC chairperson Shirley Frater outlined the achievements of the 2013 year, of which there were plenty.

These included running the National Children's Day activity at the sandspit, the ever-expanding Winter Workshops series, the 'Make a Beanie' competition, a number of Art Exhibitions in business premises, the godwit welcoming event and lecture, the Art Walk flyer, and help with the Historic Walkway in Decks Reserve.

Following the election of officers, several members gave their prepared opinions on the discussion topic: "Is there value in having art in Motueka?". Some looked at this from the angle of commercial value, others considering the emotional and mental values.

Cliff Satherley said that were it not for public art, we would have a very boring and regimented society; but art allows people to express themselves, so art becomes an important link between people in a community.

According to Sandie Boyd, everything we do in life is creative, even housework. We plan and we create as we go about daily activities. She loves seeing colourful shop windows when they are displaying arts and crafts. And on a financial level, the arts and crafts people of Motueka are indeed adding to the region's economy as they make and sell things.

Brent Maru asked questions as a challenge: how do you get the buy-in of the community to understand art, and how do you measure its value?

Marian Painter said that art can be a tool for therapy and social inclusion, which in itself provides great value to the community.

Elaine Stewart spoke of a letter she saw from a World War I soldier who, in the filthy and dire circumstances of the French battlefield, looked forward to seeing churches in villages so as to be refreshed by their beauty and creativity.


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