Arts valu­able to our re­gion

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By JESSICA MAD­DOCK

An arts cen­tre in Cen­tral Otago and a per­form­ing arts fa­cil­ity in Cromwell are among rec­om­men­da­tions in the up­dated Cen­tral Otago Arts Strat­egy. The draft ver­sion was re­leased for pub­lic comment on Fri­day and sub­mis­sions close on July 19. The dis­trict’s first arts strat­egy was de­vel­oped in 2008. Cen­tral Otago Dis­trict Arts Trust chair­per­son Kathi McLean said many of the rec­om­men­da­tions out­lined in it had been achieved and the re­vised strat­egy set new goals. Among them was ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing an ‘‘al­len­com­pass­ing arts cen­tre for Cen­tral Otago,’’ and de­vel­op­ing a new per­form­ing arts fa­cil­ity in Cromwell. Greater col­lab­o­ra­tion with neigh­bour­ing dis­tricts to de­velop Cen­tral Otago as an arts des­ti­na­tion was also rec­om­mended, along with en­cour­ag­ing artists, de­sign­ers, lo­cal de­ci­sion mak­ers and other sec­tors to work to­gether to in­clude pub­lic art in their projects. Con­sid­er­ing ex­tend­ing the part- time arts co-or­di­na­tor role to a full­time po­si­tion was an­other goal. The last strat­egy led to the Cen­tral Otago Arts Awards, the de­vel­op­ment of an arts web­site and the launch of the Cen­tral Otago Arts Trail. There was anec­do­tal ev­i­dence of the eco­nomic value art was bring­ing to the dis­trict. Sev­eral artists had spo­ken to her about the value of be­ing in­cluded in the arts trail. Among th­ese was Alexan­dra artist Denis Litch­field, a gem cut­ter who spe­cialised in Aus­tralian sap­phires and zir­cons from his min­ing claim in cen­tral Queens­land. Ms McLean said the arts trail had helped turn his pas­sion from a hobby to a busi­ness. Achiev­ing the strat­egy’s goals would re­quire a long-term fund­ing com­mit­ment from sev­eral sources, in­clud­ing cen­tral and lo­cal govern­ment, the in­dus­try, lo­cal arts com­mu­ni­ties and fund­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions. ‘‘We’re now await­ing the com­mu­ni­ties’ in­put, to see if they think the same and if we’re read­ing it right.’’

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