Community consultation on the future of the Artworks Precinct is taking shape with the launch of an online survey this week.

The survey is one of the first steps of the Shape Artworks project that is seeking community feedback on the best use of public space and resources for the artistic community on the island.

A key focus of the project is the Artworks Precinct, excluding the library, and whether it is meeting community needs now and into the future.

The findings will be reported back to the Waiheke Local Board in early March 2018 as part of its recently adopted three year plan.

Principal reviewer, local contractor Janis McArdle, says she encourages everyone with an interest in arts and culture on the island, either as a provider, practitioner, or consumer, to contribute to the conversation.

Artworks has been a multi-use site and it is very special to the people of Waiheke Janis says, but many of the buildings have been plagued by structural repair and funding issues.
“Essentially it’s what do we want to do with the space, with a community arts and needs assessment asking what we could do.”

The project’s starting point is talking to the tenants of the precinct and those who use it, and more broadly to those involved in the arts and creative industry on the island, along with anybody and everybody who would like to contribute, Janis says.

“Then extend that conversation a little bit more broadly to say how are the island communities’ needs for arts and culture being met currently, and what are the opportunities and what are the challenges.”

The project will outline the connection between the arts, the island’s economy and tourism, and the final report will be used to guide the Waiheke Local Board on what may or may not be a good use of public money for the area.

“What I can absolutely give a commitment to is what people express in terms of needs and hopes will be recorded, analysed and presented to the board, and provide a sense of what is most important and what people really want to see.

“To see how this space is used and how council via the local board might otherwise support the arts and creative industries on the island.

Part of her brief is to provide the board with robust information to inform their future decision-making she says.

“I think it’s really important that communities have their say, and that does inform how decisions get made, and how resources are allocated.

“It is a community that has opinions and being able to tap into those opinions and create resources that are grounded in those opinions is one of the things I really hope to be able to do in the report that I produce, to ensure that people see their own statements reflected in that.

“It’s really about giving a voice to the people of the motu.”

Board spokesperson Shirin Brown says the community feedback will help the board determine whether the development of Artworks as an arts and cultural precinct should be a priority, which could include advocating for an upgrade of the complex.

“This is a unique opportunity to get an overview of the arts on Waiheke and I urge as many people to take part as possible, whether you attend workshops, enjoy artistic events, or are practitioners.

“It’s really important we get a good cross-section of responses to inform any decisions.” For more information and to take the survey visit . • Safia Archer

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