On Wednesday the 12th of September, we had the pleasure of hosting Heather Shotter, CEO of Palmerston North City Council (PNCC) for a thought leadership event, Putting Art at the Heart of your City.
Heather was the first to kick off our broader speaker series, aligned with Toi Moana Arts & Culture Strategy, to connect our local community with those that have experienced similar trajectories, as well as upskill ourselves with the knowledge to move forward on our own path to a vibrant and creative region.
The evening kicked off with some social drinks and nibbles, and some notable and new faces in the room. We sat down, and Heather, quipped on 'preaching to the converted' and reiterated that in an international context, it is well-recognised that the creative and cultural industries contribute significantly to economic growth, urban development and a city's overall attractiveness. Vital in the 'war on talent' too.
Heather touched on the PNCC Public art program, which is an integrated suite of initiatives to build a sense of place and enhance access to the arts. The program is based on an ecosystem, with a focus on creating a sustainable arts sector. Within the council, the art is 'owned' across teams, which spread the understanding of the value of the arts across the council, ownership, and protects against funding vulnerability. It’s a clever initiative, and means their council and collective team intrinsically understand the value of public art.
There are 5 distinct programs which Heather spoke about, including the Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust, Placemaking Initiative, Parks & Property Assets, Palmy Unleashed and the Creative Communities. You can read more about these initiatives in the slide pack as below, or please request Heather's speaking notes through: email@example.com
Heather cited that a clear focus for the PNCC has been the talent development pathways for local artists, with the intention that there is an incentive to remain part of the region's arts culture and community.
Heather did however mention, that the organic growth of the value of the arts has come from both a top down (empowered front line teams engaged at local community level) and 'bottom up' (where the arts community collaborates in visible hubs)
Of most interest as well was the sizable investment in the arts from PNCC. But that discussion is for another day.
Thank you Heather for sharing your wit and wisdom with Tauranga. We look forward to hosting you back here soon!