After four years, over 39 projects and events, and 247 supported artists, Albert-Eden Local Board’s arts broker programme is going strong.
“The local board is firmly committed to supporting art in our community, by nurturing local artists and taking art to our people in their neighbourhoods. Our arts broker programme is vital to achieving this vision of a more lively, creative and arts friendly community, “ says local board chair Peter Haynes.
Behind the programme have been Bronwyn Bent and Sally Barnet from Neighbourhood Arts. They have been Albert-Eden’s community arts brokers since the programme started at the end of 2015. Since July, Bronwyn has been working with artists by herself.
“Arts brokers make artists’ life easier. The programme is designed to be "easy access" for people to be a part of; there aren't masses of forms to fill out, and the focus is on supporting people to make things happen,” Bronwyn Bent says.
The arts brokers help people plan their projects, including helping with paperwork when necessary. Several projects that came through the arts broker programme have gone on to develop further, or the artists involved go on to work on other projects. In 2016, the Prayas Theatre Company was a part of the programme and put on a small performance in Sandringham Reserve, which they expanded and built on for Auckland Arts Festival 2017, and then in 2018 have been undertaking a year-long project around music development.
Local artists in the community have responded well to the programme.
“The support of Neighbourhood Arts has been absolutely crucial in the development and presentation of our work. It is really helpful and reassuring to know that the community arts broker partnership is interested in projects in an ongoing way. It is the first time I have experienced this support and it is really appreciated,” says Susan Jordan from SeniorsDANCE. Their project Hunters and Collectors, pop-up dance performances in supermarkets, was hugely successful.
At the neighbourhood level, the programme provides an opportunity to foster creative energy and projects. It takes artistic endeavours to parts of Auckland that are not usually considered as obvious choices and is very reactive to the needs of local communities and what people would like to see happen in their neighbourhoods. That’s what makes it unique and is the secret to its success.