$10,000 street art fund not enough

$10,000 street art fund not enough

Additional $5,000 raised despite claims scheme "stinks of Nepotism"

Dunedin’s first Street Art Festival is set to take place in October. With a $10,000 Dunedin City Council grant for more artwork, organisers have raised a further $5,000 to bring international street artist Dal East to the festival.

The contributions of 11 artists have been confirmed to attend the festival, which will take place as part of the Vogel Street Party on 18 October 2014. The line up includes international artists Dal East, the return of Phlegm, Pixel Pancho, and Mica Still from Wellington. The festival will include Dunedin artists Sean Duffel, aka Ghstie, Andy McCready and Jon Thom.

The Dunedin City Council has granted $10,000 from the Central City Heritage Reuse grant to the owner of the Chipmunks building to bring Italian street artist Pixel Pancho to Dunedin.

The festival, which is being organised by a group of volunteers from Dunedin Street Art, is, according to their Facebook page, “In a city which proudly boasts New Zealand’s first public Art Gallery and first Art Society, we are embracing our evolution.”

However, the matter of how it is being funded and who is involved does not blend well with some Dunedin residents.

One Dunedin artist, who wished to remain anonymous, believed the project “stinks of nepotism.” He says some of the local artists include people that have been employed in other capacities by Tourism Dunedin and aspects of the event appear to be self-promotion of some artists.

“We are being asked to pay $5,000 to get Dal East over here when we have a bevvy of incredibly talented NZ street artists,” he said.

“I think they are undervaluing NZ street artists and making the ratepayers cough up for no reason.”

When asked how the New Zealand artists would be paid for their contributions to the festival, Justin Cashell, a member of Dunedin Street Art who also works for Tourism Dunedin as Tactical Branding and Marketing manager, declined to comment.

The Dunedin Street Art’s Facebook page also states, “The art will attract people to visit Dunedin and help them really understand us as a city and as a people.”
The idea for the festival evolved from the “ripples” created by Belgium artist ROA’s work in Bath Street and Phlegm’s work he completed in April 2014. ROA is renowned for his giant paintings of black and white animals.

In March 2013, Critic reported the plans for the Warehouse Precinct’s development for “creative” plans, and it seems the street art project is one of the stepping-stones towards achieving these plans.

“It’s not for us to force creativity – it is about creating the spaces in which people can find those synergies and inspirations,” DCC Heritage Planner, Dr Glen Hazelton, told Critic.
This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2014.
Posted 12:53am Monday 18th August 2014 by Bella Macdonald.