Whakatū Nelson Arts and Creativity Strategy: realising our creative potential together

29/06/2022 1:53am

Would you like more art in the streets, laneways, and parks of our city? How about attractions around the city fringe and events that bring artists to our region and support community groups?

A time of unprecedented strain on the arts sector has led to the development of the Whakatū Nelson Arts and Creativity Strategy. It aims to reset our direction as a city so the sector can survive and deliver the economic and wellbeing benefits of a thriving arts and creative sector.

The draft Strategy was developed for Nelson City Council by Johny O’Donnell and Ali Boswijk, who spoke with nearly 200 people, including artists, art organisations, iwi, the business sector, and the wider community in Nelson. The Strategy builds a vision and mission for celebrating place, creativity, and identity.

Chair of the Arts Strategy working group Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar, says the Strategy has enormous potential to reinvigorate creativity in our city.

“Nelson has been the home of incredible arts and culture; we are the birthplace of the World of Wearable Arts, Smokefreerockquest, and other phenomenal success stories. But right now, the creative sector is struggling from the impacts of COVID-19 and from underinvestment. We’ve heard feedback from the community that Nelson has fallen behind other regions in this area,” says Edgar.

“Supporting the arts, and nurturing artists, requires sustained vision and direction. We know the arts deliver enormous benefits for our city. This draft strategy proposes a series of key moves and actions to support the arts sector, like a Creative Tourism Initiative to support our arts, hospitality and accommodation sectors during winter.”

“I am particularly excited about the proposed Arts Development Agency. This organisation could provide the drive and focus needed to ensure arts and creativity are at the forefront of our city’s ambitions.”

Have your say

Now is your chance to influence the Strategy, which sets a direction for art in our city over the next ten years. Feedback is invited from now until Tuesday 26 July 2022.

“I’m excited to hear from the public about what they think of the Strategy, and how we can deliver all of the wellbeing and economic benefits of a thriving creative sector to Nelson and Te Tauihu,” says Deputy Mayor Edgar.

Click here to read the full draft Strategy and have your say. 

What’s in the Whakatū Nelson Arts and Creativity Strategy?

The Strategy is structured around five strategic pillars and outcomes:

Whakaurunga - Participation
Every Nelsonian has access to the arts and the means for creative expression and fulfilment.
Tuakiri - Identity
We see ourselves reflected in the city around us.
Pou Tarāwaho - Infrastructure
We have the soft and physical infrastructure that allows creativity to thrive.
Tūranga Whakatū - Place-Making
Arts and creativity is alive and well in the streets of Whakatū Nelson.
Ōhanga Auaha – Creative Economy
Whakatū Nelson’s creative economy is thriving and generating well-paid opportunities for creative practitioners.

The Strategy leads to five ‘key moves’ needed to revitalise the arts and creative sector. These are priority projects that will help deliver the outcomes.

  • Arts relief fund
    A new relief package to respond to the impact of COVID-19 by supporting artists with paid employment opportunities and stimulating local spending. 
  • Development agency for the arts
    An independent development agency for the arts to provide advocacy, investment attraction, networking, publicity, and capability development. 
  • Te Tauihutanga design and identity project
    Greater recognition, resourcing, and visibility of Toi Māori in our city. 
  • Positive policies initiative
    A review of Council policies and processes that act as a handbrake for the arts sector such as those relating to graffiti, noise, busking, signage, projection, and street closures. 
  • Creative tourism initiative
    An initiative to shine a light on our arts and creativity nationally.

The strategy also contains a list of 27 direct actions that could be put in place as a result of the Strategy, with ideas ranging from integrating art into our city’s infrastructure to piloting a ‘pay-what-you-can’ ticketing system for arts events.