Written by Jan Wright – Creative Coromandel Arts Manager

Following extensive consultation with the country’s arts sectors during 2023, in early 2024, Creative New Zealand (CNZ) announced a new funding programme, replacing its traditional monthly, highly contested Arts Grants model, which sometimes closed within days of opening.

In the old model, arts practitioners and arts groups competed for exactly the same pool of funds and, on average, one application in eight was successful.

Whilst the overall amount of money available for grants is now reduced – a symptom of the public funding crisis – CNZ describes their new funding programme as “accessible, focussed and fairer”.

“We’ve listened to the arts community and heard the calls for fundamental change,” Gretchen La Roche, CNZ Senior Manager, Arts Development Services, said. She adds, “As a result of talking and listening to the sector, we’ve moved from a focus on investing in projects to investing in people.”

The major overhaul has also created a clear split between arts practitioners and arts groups, and a new emphasis is being placed on vision and purpose, valuing artists’ time, supporting longer-term development and building relationships with the arts sector outside of funding.

In many instances, CNZ has made the application process easier than it has been historically, and they invite you to book a meeting with one of their advisors via their website, ideally before you start your application. They will

ensure you are applying to the right fund and will provide quality advice on your application. Our experience is that CNZ’s staff are working really hard to improve how the arts sector experiences connecting with them.

Their eight new contestable funding and support opportunities are tailored to three distinct groups: (a) early career artists, (b) artists and practitioners, and (c) arts organisations and groups.

Early career artists: There are four different funds available to Early Career Artists, several bursaries and a scholarship. The funds have opening dates coming up:

The Creative Communities Scheme Fund provides small grants of up to about $2,000 which help enable arts projects within the community. This fund opens twice yearly and is administered by Thames Coromandel District Council, with applications assessed by a panel formed by Creative

Coromandel. Watch out for the next round, which opens xxxxxxxx Fi, can you put the dates in here

The Early Career Fund – Toi Tipu Toi Rea (up to $10,000 towards creating, presenting, and distributing work, sharing knowledge and skills with others, and mentor fees) is for artists, practitioners and collaboratives of any age who are at the early stage of their career, who wish to learn, create, and share their mahi with their communities. You can apply anytime, and CNZ will notify results within 10-12 weeks of applying. If you get your application in very shortly, you could catch the November 2024 notification.

The Creative Fellowship Fund opens on 5 August and closes on 17 September and provides funding of $25,000 (for up to six months) or $50,000 (for up to 18 months) to support artists, practitioners and collaboratives to think, explore, create, and develop fresh ideas and approaches in your work. It offers a contribution towards living costs, materials and resources needed to produce work. The Creative Fellowship Fund can work hand in hand with the Creative Impact Fund, which opens and closes on the same dates, lifting the grant to a potential maximum of $125,000.

The New Leaders Programme, which opens on 8 July and closes on 21 August, does not involve a grant. Still, it provides a peer support network and capability-building opportunities for new and emerging leaders in arts organisations or communities. Focussing on areas such as the relationship between governance and management, financial literacy, and influencing skills, this training is about building the skills and peer support which lead to strong, sustainable arts communities and organisations.

Artists and arts practitioners:

In this category, there are four funds, two residencies, scholarships, the New Leaders Programme and the biennial CNZ Michael King Writer’s Fellowship, all designed to support artists and practitioners working independently or collaborating with others for a specific arts purpose or project. Three of the

Funds are shared with early career artists – the Creative Communities Scheme Fund, the Creative Fellowship Fund and the Creative Impact Fund –with the same opening and closing dates as indicated above.

There is also a Development Fund of up to $8,000 towards fees and costs

associated with professional and creative development activities to expand your skills and grow your career. The fund has closed for 2024 but keep your eye out on CNZ’s website for dates for 2025’s round of this fabulously flexible and enabling fund.

Arts organisations and groups:

We salute CNZ for recognising the conflict experienced by many arts organisations and groups which were formed to advocate for and support their community’s arts and artists when, until now, their applications for funding support would reduce the pool of funds available to practising artists. Creating a separate pool of funds for arts groups removes that conflict.

Available to arts groups are:

Creative Communities Scheme Fund (not available to Creative Coromandel as we assess the applications!), the New Leaders Programme, and four other funds – Arts Organisations and Groups Fund – up to $50,000, Arts Organisations and Groups Fund – $50,000-$125,000, and the Residencies, Internships and Fellowships Fund.

The two Arts Organisations and Groups Funds have closed for 2024 but will be available again in 2025.

The Residencies, Internships and Fellowships Fund opens on 29 July and closes on 5 September. It is for New Zealand-based organisations, trusts, groups, or individuals that wish to offer a residency, internship, or fellowship opportunity for New Zealand artists and practitioners. We think this fund and its glorious flexibility are inspired, and we can see how some of our small Peninsula communities may have the capacity to develop a strong application for up to $50,000 per year for up to three years. We encourage you to give it some thought.

The Development Fund for Arts Groups or Organisations has closed for 2024 and may or may not be available again in 2025.

This concludes the details of CNZ’s new funding programme. The Investment programmes (Toi Tōtara Haemata and Toi Uru Kahikatea) and the Creative Communities Scheme are not affected by the new programmes.

Keep an eye on CNZ’s Funding and Support page, and don’t hesitate to make an appointment to talk with one of CNZ’s advisors. They are completely approachable (i.e. friendly), well-informed and want to hear from you.

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