Tuesday, 14 February 2017 08:54

Focus ahead for Creative Bay of Plenty

Focus ahead for Creative Bay of Plenty

For Lena Kovac, General Manager of Creative Bay of Plenty, 2017 is a year to focus on supporting arts and culture practitioners in Tauranga and the Western Bay through advocacy and capability building initiatives such as workshops and mentoring.
Lena Kovac, General Manager, Creative Bay of PlentyIn addition, Lena and her staff of three will be working with Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council to support the development of its Arts and Culture Strategy, due to be launched at the end of the year.

Lena took up her role at Creative Bay of Plenty (known as Creative Tauranga until August 2016) in November last year, moving from Auckland where she had been the General Manager of Mairangi Arts Centre for four years.

Mairangi Arts Centre, in partnership with the Northland Region Corrections Facility, has presented an annual InsideOut exhibition of art by prisoners since 2010.

Lena is German and came to live in New Zealand in 2009."Growing up in Germany, I studied arts management and since coming to New Zealand I’ve been working in the community arts sector.

“I believe the arts should be inclusive and accessible to everyone whether it’s about making art or enjoying the arts as audience members and gallery visitors.

“I love working with creative people and communities. There are so many creative people in the region but I think a lot of creative activity is flying under the radar.

“There’s a shortage of venues for people to showcase their talents and although the Tauranga Art Gallery is great, practitioners need more spaces and more support to make their work visible.”

Gallery to close in mid 2017

The organisation’s current gallery, housed in its office and managed by staff, will close in mid 2017.

“The gallery has been a large part of the organisation and means we are often perceived as solely supporting the visual arts,” Lena says. “However, our mission is to support the whole of the creative sector.”

As a support organisation, she says, one of Creative Bay of Plenty’s roles is to help others develop a community art gallery.

Purpose of Creative Bay of Plenty

The purpose of Creative Bay of Plenty, which includes the Western Bay of Plenty, is to “create an environment where arts and culture thrive”. It does this by:

  • managing the Creative Communities Scheme on behalf of Creative New Zealand for Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty
  • facilitating projects and linking arts and culture groups and individuals to help the arts thrive in our region
  • providing mentoring opportunities for our creative community
  • promoting arts and culture activities and events to the community
  • advocating on behalf of the sector to local and central government.

Creative Bay of Plenty receives all of its operational funding from Tauranga City Council and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

Lena says the Tauranga City Council is wanting to reinvigorate the city centre. Part of that might include a civic space with a library, museum and performing arts venue.

“I would love to see a community arts centre in that space, where practitioners could rent studio space and hold exhibitions and other arts activities,” Lena says.

Via Arts Access Aotearoa, 10 February 2017.