Coromandel Arts Strategy
Friday, March 20, 2015 at 10:31AM
Bill Barclay

The presser that came out today regarding the 'workshop' held by over 70 artists from around the Peninsula this week to discuss the development of an Arts Strategy for the Coromandel has much to commend it. Note that it was 'faciliated' by Creative Waikato, promoted by Council staff - Ben Dunbar-Smith, and Marlene Perry, but carried within Council to date by long-time member of the local arts community - Cr Diane Connors. 

Council of course has a role to promote all manner of activity within the District that can be seen as widely advantageous to rate-payers, but I would strongly caution against becoming involved to such an extent that it is seen as a Council activity beyond simply devising a strategy - and that is often the case, leading to inevitable extension into 'non-core' activities that have become such a drain on council finances elsewhere.

I mention only one such activity where our Council has fallen into this trap - that surrounding fund-raising and oversight for the Zoom-Zone Indoor Stadium - it happens extremely quickly and before anyone has really had a chance to consider the long term implications for rate-payers generally. 

Devising a strategy is one thing - becoming involved in the employment of 'arts advisors,' and development of 'cultural-centres' etc is quite another, particularly when outsiders are employed to develop a strategy. They invariably write such documents with long-term involvement in mind. and ingratiate themselves accordingly.

Cynical you say! - sorry, I am too long in the tooth, and been around this kind of activity too long not to observe the natural instincts of this brand of consultant. Just look at what happened with Thames Development Strategy which thankfully appears to have come to silent demise, or has it? 

Anyway, our 70 artists who gave up a day to discuss all the issues that concern them deserve to see something positive emerge from the proceedings, and I for one am totally supportive of what they are seeking to achieve, with the above caveat of course. 




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