Double-standard towards the arts

Creative BOP general manager Lena Kovac.

They're ‘bludgers' with their ‘snouts in the trough' who ‘leech' off ratepayers. At least, that's how some people in the community view Creative Bay of Plenty.

When SunLive published an article last month on Creative BOP's newest appointments, some commenters on the site were vocal in their disapproval of the hiring, questioning the organisation's purpose and usefulness.

But commenter ‘surfsup' bucked the trend, asking: “I wonder would there be the same vocal outrage expressed if these were sporting appointments?”

The short answer is: probably not. Indeed, a cursory search of the SunLive archives shows that while stories about Creative BOP inevitably draw negative comments, stories on Sport BOP's initiatives avoid any similar scrutiny.

It seems that, in this city, sport gets a free pass when it comes to funding, while the arts must weather a storm of criticism.

Creative BOP general manager Lena Kovac says it benefits no one to compare spending or budgets between the arts and sport and recreation.

“Just as in life there is room for people to enjoy both, there is room for both in any budget.”

“Creative BOP's role is to be an umbrella support mechanism for local artists, bringing them together, helping them create success and build their audience.”

Tauranga City Council funds both community groups equally, to the tune of $300,000 each per annum, while Western Bay of Plenty District Council allocates roughly $50,000 a year to each group.

“In terms of what return the public is getting for their investment, Creative BOP is currently creating an Arts & Culture Strategy for the two councils, which will provide funders with ways to spend their arts budgets for maximum effect.

“It will help create jobs and opportunities in the sector and more activities and events for locals to attend.”

Tauranga City Mayor Greg Brownless agrees there's a disparity between public attitudes to sport and the arts.

“I think when it comes to public money the arts have always come of second-best, possibly because we have a stronger sporting tradition. Money spent on sport seems to be more sacrosanct.”

He thinks it would be great if all groups, whether sports or arts, took more responsibility for their own funding.

“I'm not a great sportsman, but the theatre groups I've belonged to receive no public assistance whatsoever. But it shows people can get together and attract an audience, and be self-sustaining.

“That's my preference.”

However, he notes that council funding of parks and sports fields benefits everybody, and that sporting and creative programmes are beneficial for reducing social problems.

“I've never seen kids getting into trouble in communities committed to sport and the arts.”



25 Comments

Anyway, all points aside;-

Posted on 09-04-2017 22:11 | By Papamoaner

The prominent attractions that draw folk to any city (read Benefit) are firstly the arts and secondly the architecture. The evidence of that is scattered all over Europe. People like Corporal Senseless are never going to acknowledge that. It's an ingrained culture

@ R. Bell

Posted on 09-04-2017 15:11 | By Captain Sensible

As usual, your comprehension skills let you down. I said "not too far from a $billion". And with compounding interest it will be here sooner rather than later. So I look forward to Lena Kovac and her arty friends stumping up the cash to feed the bottomless pit. Put your money (not someone else's) where your mouth is!

Summarizing from me (last post on this)

Posted on 09-04-2017 14:30 | By morepork

1. Compromise is required to live in a community.2. Not everyone who appreciates the Arts is an arty-farty snob. (MOST are not...)3. Local Arts groups do NOT think "the World owes us a living". 4. We should nurture and support our Arts people just as we do rising stars in other fields of endeavour.5. If you think the Arts are unnecessary frippery in your life then take down all the decorations in your home, donate all the books you have to charity, and stop listening to music. Does that improve your world? If so, you need to be a hermit, and are unsuited for Human company.6. The need to watch how our money is spent is no more related to the Arts than it is to anything else. 7. Be glad you live here and accept the costs of it. Contribute!

@Captain Sensible (again)

Posted on 09-04-2017 14:14 | By morepork

You can argue the figures on Council debt but the bottom line is, it is somewhere between "a lot" and "too much". I take your point regarding people who like Arts, getting together and producing a Business Plan. What you don't know is that most of the societies involved with Arts in Tauranga (TSA, Tauranga Writers, and many others) do the best they can to finance their own activities. They are people just like you who happen to have different passions from you. I have seen (and occasionally been part of ) groups of people spending many hours of their own time, talent, and energy, without thought of reward other than the satisfaction of working together and doing something they consider worthwhile. Public funding is very much the exception, rather than the rule, and when it does happen the funds are used carefully with respect for "otherpeople'smoney".

@Roadkill

Posted on 09-04-2017 13:57 | By morepork

"Sadly the arty farty brigade look to all ratepayers to pay the bills for their hobbies. That is not right." No, it wouldn't be right, if what you said is true. However, you omitted to mention that many people who are NOT part of the "arty farty brigade", also like to hang pictures on their walls, decorate their dwellings, read books, and realize that Arts are essential for their well-being.Is it any more wrong than boat slips being maintained by public funds, or sports facilities being maintained? These too are "hobbies". There's nothing wrong with the Community supporting hobbies; it is part of living together. The Arts/Humanities are NOT just a bunch of pretentious snobs indulging themselves, and the more that ordinary people get involved and support and enjoy it, the less likely that is to happen.

Absolute rubbish,

Posted on 09-04-2017 13:53 | By R. Bell

Roadkill. Papamoaner has it right. Those who can't get past the "whats in it for me" mindset, will always grizzle. Mind you I'm encouraged by the captain, who has now reduced council "debt" from a billion down to 700,000, give him time and he'll get it right. Yet again accusing council of dishonesty, with absolutely no evidence. We will have cultural expression, in spite of the dead littering our roads, and captains of nothing. Robin Bell.

@Capt Kaveman

Posted on 09-04-2017 13:47 | By morepork

"dont like art so why should it come out of my rates" Because you live in a COMMUNITY which is not funded to support YOUR personal preferences. If you strongly disagree with your money being used for things that don't benefit YOU personally, then go and live on a mountain somewhere or an island. Please try and persuade other short-sighted, selfish people to go with you...

bludgers!

Posted on 09-04-2017 12:38 | By Roadkill

Yes, Creative TGA is that, so are all the appendages that they get their sticky dirty little feet all over. The perfect example of the RORT upon Tauranga ratepayers is the Art gallery. I huge cost up front and then they all turn around and demand money every year, heading skyward at over $2,000,000m/pa and counting. Sadly the arty farty brigade look to all ratepayers to pay the bills for their hobbies. That is not right.

@ R. Bell

Posted on 09-04-2017 10:58 | By Captain Sensible

We never agree on anything! The debt for council is approaching $700 million, but you choose to believe their "creative" ( that word again!) accounting. Any dollar in interest not paid suffers compounding interest charges. This council is heading for bankruptcy and guess what mugs will suffer with rate rises spiraling out of control ( to match their incompetence and over spending) forcing people on fixed incomes out of the area. If a bunch of you love art, get together and and get a business plan together. TCC has no right getting into a "business" that will not make money and become a burden on rate payers. Sadly the new mayor, despite all those promises, is delivering more of the same. If any of you run your household budget like the TCC run theirs, then good luck with the mortgagee sale.

Waiknot, Creative Tauranga NOT sacked from Cargo Shed

Posted on 09-04-2017 10:26 | By Murray.Guy

Waiknot, Creative Tauranga NOT sacked from Cargo Shed. The actual stall holders at the Cargo Shed, while it was under Creative Tauranga control, were to be removed and replaced by Creative Tauranga. The lease of the Cargo Shed was 'up for grabs' at the time and the Stall Holders formed a 'cooperative' and put in a bid for the lease of the Cargo Shed and were successful, their bid being very comprehensive and reflecting a return to the community many times that of the previous lease with Creative Tauranga. In direct conflict with the lease agreement made at the time, the Cargo Shed Cooperative were somewhat unceremoniously removed from the Cargo Shed by the Staff and Elected Members immediately prior to this cruise ship season citing critical safety issues and urgent works. Creative Tauranga is independent (on paper) of TCC and contracts to provide a service.

All about attitude

Posted on 09-04-2017 09:49 | By Papamoaner

Fortunately many people think of the common good in any community. There will always be those who only ever vote on the basis of "what's in it for me?" It's amply reflected in this discussion. Winston Churchill was onto it with his famous comment on definitions of democracy.

Oh! dear captain,

Posted on 09-04-2017 09:35 | By R. Bell

your penchant for exaggeration knows no bounds. City Council current net debt is about 386 m, Debt to Revenue ratio is about 215%, The average mortgage for individuals is around 1000 %. Around 65% of council debt is funded by YOURS and everyone else's rates, the rest is funded by user fees and development contributions, which amounts to about 20,m per year in total. The days of private art patronage are long gone, now we all contribute and benefit from the availability of peoples talent. Robin Bell.

????????

Posted on 08-04-2017 20:01 | By waiknot

Didn't council sack Creative Tauranga from the management of the Dive Cres art facility? So why give money to an organisation that council has previously not trusted?

I

Posted on 08-04-2017 16:40 | By Capt_Kaveman

dont like art so why should it come out of my rates

@ papamoaner

Posted on 08-04-2017 16:05 | By Captain Sensible

Why would I offer my services to a cause I am against??? Duh! I am busy with my real job in the private sector where I have had no wage increase for almost a decade, yet my rates go up and up and up every year without fail. I stand by what I say, and nowhere did I say or imply I speak for everyone. Maybe the words "I say No, and "a big NO from me" would give you a clue!

No money sense

Posted on 08-04-2017 16:00 | By Captain Sensible

Don't know if all you art lovers are aware, but the council through years and years of incompetency and mismanagement are not too far from a Billion dollars of debt!! The concentration should be to get rid of the debt, NOT increase it. Do you have any ideas of what it costs a year to service, not pay off, but just service the interest on a billion dollars?? FYI, I have always said the council should stick to core council work, and would be equally horrified if they wanted to build a sports memorabilia museum or any other scandalous waste of our money. Just think....@ 8%, $1000,000,000 debt's interest is $80 million PER YEAR!!! To give these bumbling bureaucrats encouragement to spend spend spend on 'nice things' when in this debt, demonstrates to me, you are all as out of touch as your council. Wake up!!!

@Lena Kovac

Posted on 08-04-2017 15:47 | By morepork

I agree with what you said and your definition of the role of Creative Tauranga. It may seem like you have walked into a storm but there is a lively Arts community here and I am amazed at some of the talented artists, writers, musicians, craftspeople and sculptors who live here. They deserve support and encouragement and then, in the long run, at least some of the naysayers may be persuaded that maybe it isn't so bad to add other dimensions to our lives, rather than just the daily grind to make a living. For myself, I wish you and Creative Tauranga every success in your endeavours.

@Rastus

Posted on 08-04-2017 15:35 | By morepork

What makes "good" or "bad" Art is very hard to define, is arguable, and will inevitably involve subjective opinion rather than "fact". However, I agree with most of what you wrote. It is very wrong that a local artist (whether "good" or "bad") cannot get an exhibition at a gallery which is publicly funded to promote local Arts and creativity, even if it was only for a day or so. Yes, there is a cost in presenting an exhibition, but encouragement for local artists is part of the stated purpose for Creative Tauranga. We should not let pretentious snobs hi-jack the Arts and CT should be careful to ensure that exhibitions are NOT JUST of work that is "mainstream" accepted or from only known artists. (We have an Art Gallery for that... :-)) Maybe you could re-present your case to the new Management?

@Captain Sensible

Posted on 08-04-2017 15:18 | By morepork

Just like you, I too am a Ratepayer. You are right to be concerned about how our money is spent and all of us need to make sure there are checks and balances to see that waste in Civic Administration is minimized. We have a right to require Transparency and Accountability. But opting to live in a Community requires some compromises on personal preferences. My Rates are applied to MANY things I don't personally subscribe or adhere to, and I will not personally benefit from, but I gladly accept it as the being part of the cost of living in the only place in the World where I want to live. The best we can do is "keep them honest" and show our opinions at the ballot box. There are many dedicated public servants here and some are at Creative Tauranga.

No contest.

Posted on 08-04-2017 15:06 | By morepork

It is foolish to make this a contest between Arts and Sport (or anything else). As noted in my previous post, a world without Arts would be sterile, boring and unpleasant to live in. Some valid points have been raised and I'll respond to some of them individually. But, overall, Creative Tauranga SHOULD be a very valuable asset to our City. Just because it is sometimes difficult to quantify the benefits of abstract ideas and creativity does NOT mean we should suppress them by cutting off funding. Humanities are part of what makes us Human. Be glad of it.

RE: Captain Sensible

Posted on 08-04-2017 13:31 | By This Guy

I'm glad that you're not in charge of where funding goes, you're not the only person who pays rates and you don't speak for everyone who does. I'd love to see more art projects going on in the Bay, art gets people thinking and talking, it's such a powerful thing and there should be more of it for the public and tourists to enjoy. "The earth without art is just eh" so it's a big YES from me when it comes to funding such things.

Who are you trying to convince

Posted on 08-04-2017 13:11 | By rastus

As a person who appreciate art, I have been dumbfounded as to why there has always been two types of art lover in Tauranga (and I suspect in the western world) real artists do not need any significant funding to demonstrate their art - they produce it and if enough people appreciate the creation then that person generally gets rewarded. We don't need and never needed a 'so called' trained expert to tell us what is art and what is not - art has always been in the eye of the beholder - when up your nose 'egg spurts' at the art gallery (mostly paid for by the ratepayers) will not allow local painters to hang their yearly exhibition in the gallery then what the hell was it all about and Creative Tauranga have also demonstrated that only that which they approve of will get any attention - andyetwestillpay-makesyousick

Sport

Posted on 08-04-2017 12:36 | By Papamoaner

As to the comment in the article about sport. Very true! This country is obsessed with games of "winners and losers" ie; sport. Many of us are not remotely interested in it, instead having an appreciation of the arts. We spend $millions on "sport" but hear few complaints about it.

@capn sensible

Posted on 08-04-2017 12:30 | By Papamoaner

Please define a "real job" I have no issues with this initiative if it benefits the community. As to paying volunteers for going the extra mile which often involves burning the midnight oil, not just attending meetings, I have no issue with that either. How about offering your services instead of criticising everything that pulses?

It is still a big NO from me.

Posted on 08-04-2017 11:53 | By Captain Sensible

Most of us long suffering ratepayers are sick of these airy fairy projects that lumber us with the bill. So again, I say...No Thank You. Go and find a real job in the private sector.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now
Opinion Poll

Do you want to see mandatory country of origin labelling for all fruit and vegetables sold in NZ?

Yes
No
I thought this mandatory country of origin labelling was already in place in NZ.
Don’t care

VOTE
VIEW RESULTS
Bay Today



Monarch butterflies enjoying the sun. Photo: Glenice McDonald. Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. photos@thesun.co.nz