The Whakatāne District is set to burst with colour following investment from Whakatāne District Council and a funding injection from the Creative New Zealand Local Government Art Fund.
The fund, designed to assist councils to support the resilience and recovery of local arts organisations affected by COVID-19, will see the development of a bold arts strategy to support a thriving and resilient arts sector across the District; and a local creative is returning to her roots to make it happen.
Recently based in Wellington where she has worked in the live performance sector and a current board member of Arts Wellington, Vanessa Immink (pictured), a wahine Māori/Pākehā theatre maker, producer and marketer, is now tasked with creating an artistic vision for the District.
“The Whakatāne District Arts Strategy is the first of its kind for our rohe and will set out a clear roadmap for the development of the arts sector across our communities,” says Vanessa, Kaiwhakarite Whakatipu Toi / Art Development Coordinator, at Whakatāne District Council.
The Arts strategy aims to be completed by end of June 2022, with creative community engagement now underway.
“The strategy will be a genuine co-creation between Council and local creatives and will include extensive engagement and partnerships with local whānau, hapū and iwi.”
She adds, “We are surrounded by talent and creativity in the Whakatāne District and formalising a strategy will better ensure our artists are celebrated, retained and empowered to be successful arts practitioners while living in our rohe.”
Recent projects for Immink include working at Adelaide Fringe Festival, Kia Mau Festival and Pūtahi Festival. Alongside her Arts Wellington board members, Vanessa also supported and co-facilitated consultation with Wellington City Council developing its new Arts, Culture & Creativity 10-year strategy – Aho Tini.