Queenstown’s rich list is stumping up cash to fund a cultural masterplan for the resort.
Philanthropists, including long-term media-shy local Carroll Joynes, are financing a City Hall-commissioned study to the tune of $100,000.
Mayor Jim Boult describes it as a turning point.
“I think art and culture in our district has not had the focus that it should have had for a long period of time,” he says.
The council has engaged AEA Consulting to complete the study over the next few months.
“Bringing global expertise to this project has to be positive for Queenstown Lakes as an international destination,” Boult says.
The findings will be integrated into the Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan.
Boult expects the new recommendation will include “something” in the CBD.
“I would be surprised if it wasn’t but we are certainly open-minded to what else may be suggested.”
He was part of a working group in the early 2000s which looked at a performing arts and civic centre in town – but it never got off the ground.
He confirms council would have funded the study but describes it as “fabulous” to have philanthropic folk prepared to stump up.
“Happily we have some passionate individuals amongst us who have the ability, connections, desire and means to invest in our community; supporting projects that will enhance our culture and artistic assets without calling upon our ratepaying residents.”
Wakatipu Friends of the Gardens chair Jay Cassells, organising the philanthropic venture, reckons it’s a win-win for locals and doffs his hat to Joynes and the other unnamed donors.
“Mr Joynes is a long-term resident who like many others hopes to help residents of the district to plan and develop cultural opportunities and assets to meet burgeoning community needs and aspirations.”
Cassells: “I did suggest the idea of long-term, integrated planning for culture and arts for the community, starting with a study, but similar conversations have been going on for a long time between many residents.
“I was lucky enough to get to know some people who could help council with the resources and expertise it needed to get this going now.”
Another intended aim is to propose initiatives to leverage arts and cultural opportunities, to increase community involvement, shape tourism and improve art offerings for locals and visitors.
Boult admits more money may be needed when the recommendations come back. He’s already had a natter with those who may sign cheques.
“Only at a high level, on the basis that if we do this there are people who are interested in contributing.”
He applauds their efforts.
“This is a very generous investment in a future which will enable philanthropic support from within our community to be applied for the benefit of the whole community. A new source of funding for new challenges and opportunities is very welcome indeed.”
Last year top Kiwi artist Grahame Sydney, best known for his landscapes of Central Otago, called for a public art gallery in the resort.
He described it at the time as a glaring omission in Queenstown’s calling card.