Thursday, September 23, 2010

Creative gravy train - an oxymoron

I am alerted to the following because I subscribe to a community and volunteer sector newsletter;

Changes to arts funding announced

Creative New Zealand will introduce two new and complementary multi-year funding programmes from January 2012 to provide clarity, stability and flexibility in the way it funds arts organisations and artists. The new funding programmes are:

* Arts Leadership Investment (Toi Tōtara Haemata) to provide support for between two and five years to well-run, financially sound organisations that fulfil a key role or roles in the creation, presentation and distribution of high-quality arts experiences to New Zealanders

* Arts Development Investment (Toi Uru Kahikatea) to complement the Arts Leadership Investment programme by offering greater flexibility in the range of activities it supports. Funding will be available for periods from six months to two years for arts organisations, groups and individuals. Applicants will not need to fulfil a key role (see above).

The changes follow a review, where the arts sector identified an ongoing need for skills development. Creative NZ will work to enhance existing capability building programmes to meet the needs of both emerging and established arts organisations. It will also look at ways to offer incentives for artists and arts organisations to collaborate on projects, such as the commissioning and presentation of new work or to provide support for young and emerging artists.

You may have noticed I have been blogging less frequently. This is because I am painting and sketching more frequently. Why? Because I need to contribute to our household income. A few weeks back I took my portfolio into a couple of framers with the proposition that I sketch on their premises (providing me with exposure) and any commissions I pick up, they do the framing. I have priced my sketches at a very accessible price. So far the exercise has been successful picking up 4 commissions, with three of them for multiple sketches and more in the pipeline. I also met a fascinating Maori man who has agreed to be a subject for some new paintings. It isn't hard work because I enjoy interacting with the public and I love creating with pastels. But it is honest work.

It pisses me off immensely that we have a 'creative' art gravy train in New Zealand. Firstly because you and I have to fund it. Secondly because it often turns out crap. Real talent will attract willing sponsors and patronage. Lack of talent relies on handouts. Thirdly is provides 'jobs' for bureaucrats and fourthly it removes audience and potential buyers from artists who are trying to go it off their own efforts. Bah. Back to work for me.

Update; Sam provides a useful link about NZ On Air funding which comes from the Culture and Heritage budget which was Helen Clark's own portfolio. Between 1999 and 2008 expenditure rose from $427 million to $1,107 million. And National seems to have accepted this level along with all the other Clark administration spend-ups.


Linda Reid said...

I agree with you - all funding for the arts must stop.

I include orchestras and dance in that list.

With lower taxes, those who want to support artists will have the funds to do so, and ordinary taxpayers will not have money forcibly taken from them by the state and given to artists.

Anonymous said...

Add creative writing to the list. Most of The word nazi's are all on the payroll and make their dough from the public trough, not from selling books.


Anonymous said...

why should a person on minimum wage be forced to support someone else who chooses to use their hobby as an income irregardless of whether they may or may not have any talent for. Surely if the were any good then people would support them. What holds true for minimum wage must also hold true for the rest of us taxpayers.
Leave the money in our wallets, and let us decide who is worthy of our time and money.

Seamonkey Madness said...

Good luck with turning your artistic talent into money Lindsay. I'm sure it will work out great.

PS: agree on the trimming of the creative grants etc. It's great to get bands etc. off the ground, but I wonder how much public funding Shihad - a band who tomorrow release their 9th album, and have been around for 22 years - get now?

This isn't 1800s Vienna and NZ sure doesn't have a bunch of Mozarts.

Sam said...

Reminds me of Simon Sweetman's blog from a few weeks ago regarding NZ On Air funding:

It's truly amazing to me that there are many NZ bands that get taxpayer funding. I always assumed that they paid their own way as they are "popular" music.

The epitome of this seems to be the band I Am Giant. Looking at the following link, they seem to have received $50,000 to record their first album, despite the fact that they are based in London!

I sure would have loved the NZ taxpayer to fund my OE!

Sam said...

Further digging on the NZ On Air website shows that such luminaries as Dave Dobbyn and Tim Finn are regular recipients of $50,000 grants for album recording. These are guys that are signed to major labels (EMI, Sony) and regularly do sell-out tours around the world (Tim Finn more so when touring with his brother).

Where is the justification for providing public money to, presumably, well-off individuals that already have music industry backing, and why aren't the music labels willing to risk their own money?

Anonymous said...

Lindsay, this may be an old post on your blog that I respond to in 2014 but you are so right, and so so many of us (including creatives) feel contempt for these cliques with their noses in the trough. I respond here as someone in the UK with many years involvement in the visual arts. In my own locale, (particularly since the massive economic shocks of 2008 onwards), we experience significant cut backs in core civic services - health, public transport, refuse collection - and at the same time we read in the local rags about huge funding given to a local art space in the new library which, as an often daily visitor to that library I can assure you the contemporary art space receives very few visitors ever, and the creative input exhibited seems almost purposefully asinine in its lameness and laziness. Another group have been parachuted into the borough far elsewhere in the country, (demonstrable links to certain councilors however it needs to be noted) - these folks have been awarded large grants, given a number of local building to base themselves in (peppercorn rent), allowed to host an annual festival (which they now charge admission for, on top of receiving grants. It's a complete scam! The library arts space received recently a six-figure sum to operate; I can say as a fan of a wide range of art including installations that what is shown there is utterly banal and a joke. Virtually no-one visits and yet the organization continues to receive high praise and puff-pieces from their cronies in the local paper. Another outrage with this library is that for a few years, one particular librarian has been given their very own display space in the public library to not only show but also market their art. This is a paid employee of the library while other local businesses and crafts people have to pay rent and rates. It's really shocking. The arts collective I previously mentioned in the library have now stated in a recent 'initiative' in the local paper that they will be dedicating some of their space throughout the year to 'local artists' but these artists must pay to exhibit!! Honestly you couldn't make it up!!