A long-running community arts festival which attracts hundreds of performers and thousands of spectators every autumn has failed to attract a grant from the Creative Communities scheme.
The biggest impact on the Cambridge Autumn Festival next year will be on the Main Street Carnival and a Maadi Cup parade welcoming thousands of rowers and their supporters to Cambridge.
The festival, which first started in 2009, was granted $7000 from the scheme last year. But the money could not be used because the Covid pandemic led to the event being cancelled.
So, when the trust which organises the festival, made another application for $9000, it expected to get funding again.
Chair Alana MacKay said the festival had attracted funding from the creative scheme every year since 2014, totalling $50,500.
“The lack of funding is a huge blow to the festival,” she said.
“To have a $9000 gap in our budget at this late stage in our planning is very challenging. To be honest, it really took us by surprise, especially after having funds approved last year which were then never paid out.”
Waipā District Council has a partnership with Creative New Zealand to promote, support and increase participation in community arts and cultural activities in the district.
It provided $75,348 this year.
A council spokesperson said for the first round, approved in September, there were 28 applications totalling $118,330.
The assessor panel comprised Alex Wilkinson (chairperson), Waimihi Hotere, Marie Bramley, Heather Wellington, Marcus Gower, Jennie De Groot and David McCathie, who has since resigned.
McCathie spoke to the Autumn Festival application and then left for that and the Cambridge Arts Council and Richard Adams Art Workshop as they were part of the Autumn Festival line up.
De Groot spoke to her application/project ‘Figure and Space Painting Workshop with Martin Campos’ and then exited the room for the allocation discussion.
In its notes on why it did not grant the festival any money, the panel said the Cambridge Autumn Festival has been funded continuously since at least 2014 from the fund with no significant change in operation.
One of the criteria panel members must look at is whether previously funded events had developed in any significant way.
MacKay said the festival was the highlight of the Cambridge cultural calendar bringing a wide range of performers to the town.
Most events are free for the community and others are at affordable ticket prices.
It is run by a trust of volunteers, involves around 500 artists and performers – many of them emerging local talent – and attracts thousands of patrons.
She understood the panel had questioned the Autumn Festival’s plans to use funds for print advertising.
But a spokesperson for the council said it was part of a wider conversation about road closures, hall hire, projected number and opening event costs.
There was no suggestion the Autumn Festival application was unsuccessful because of its proposal around how it would advertise the event, the spokesperson said.
The trust was now looking to other options so the carnival and Maadi Cup parade could go ahead.
“It’s looking like we’ll have to tap into our minimal reserve funds, that have already been somewhat depleted by Covid, which puts future festivals at risk, but the show must go on.
“With time tight, and Christmas fast approaching, other funding options are extremely limited, and we haven’t had any luck so far,” she said.
Recipients of the Creative Communities Scheme September round and the amounts received were:
Te Wharekura o Nga Purapura o Te Aroha Whakamana Rangatahi Waipā Kapa Haka Festival – $3500, Tovah O’Neill Theatre Sports for Beginners – $1500, Jennie De Groot Figure and Space Painting Workshop with Martin Campos -$7000, Sasha McLaren, David Woodcock, Kereama Clarke Waipa Digital Storytelling Workshop – $4000, Te Awamutu Creative Fibre Looking Forward – $800, NZ Northumbrian Pipers’ Society Summer Workshop 2023 – $1800, Enrich Plus Mayoral Artwork – $200, Quinton Tunoho Whiti Mai Ra Ki Owairaka – $4000, Oriwa Morgan Ward Taua Toi Raranga/Our Woven Art – $1500, Alex Wilkinson The Creative Conduit – $19,960, Kate Symmonds The Artistry Huddle – $5000, Te Awamutu Community Food Forest Pekerau Mural – $2000, Adam Harvey Surgical Precision – $2500.
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