Creative Communities Scheme supports diverse arts projects


Dance and theatre workshops for young people with learning disability, the creation of a mural with a professional graffiti artist for youth at risk, and audio description for blind people of a Shakespeare play are among the projects supported over the past year with funding though the Creative Communities Scheme.

Jolt Dance performs its biennial show, IlluminateEvery year, the Creative Communities Scheme supports approximately 1800 community arts projects throughout New Zealand with $3.1 million of Creative New Zealand’s funding.

Stephen Wainwright Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand, says that in the 2014/15 financial year, the organisation funded 1608 projects involving approximately 300,000 participants and 1.6 million audience members. 

“The Creative Communities Scheme is an incredibly effective way to support arts activities in local communities around the country,” he says. “The scheme makes a tangible contribution to helping all New Zealanders participate in and experience the arts.” 

Established in 1995, the scheme is a partnership between Creative New Zealand and local government. Creative New Zealand oversees the scheme and provides the funding. The grants are administered through 67 local councils. 

Local assessment committee

For example, the Dunedin City Council calls for applications, and then a local assessment committee decides on the grants and distributes them.

Cara Paterson, Arts Advisor, Dunedin City Council, says its Creative Communities Scheme always receives many more applications than there is money available to support them.

"We have a very connected and active arts community in Dunedin,” she says. “There's always a huge diversity of projects wanting support and within these projects, there are always applications for projects involving the disability sector."

An artist, Lynette, at Mapura StudiosOver the years, creative spaces have received funding through the Creative Communities Scheme: for example, Toi Ora Live Art Trust and Mapura Studios in Auckland; Vincents Art Workshop and Pablos Art Studios in Wellington; Jolt Dance in Christchurch; and Artsenta in Dunedin.

In 2015, Jolt Dance received $2820 for its bi-annual show called Illuminate. This show featured all nine of its classes and involved more than 100 performers with disabilities.

“The grant allowed us to bring in professional choreographers and technicians to work with our dancers,” says Jolt’s Artistic Director, Lyn Cotton.

“We performed four shows to nearly 900 people in a wonderful celebration of diversity and difference”

Here is a list of some recent examples of diverse projects funded by the Creative Communities Scheme. 

  • $7948 to Mapura Studios, Auckland : to produce an innovative introductory art programme for youth and adults with disability
  • $5986 to Dance Therapy New Zealand, Auckland : to hold 16 dance workshop sessions for children and young people with special needs
  • $1600 to Tall Poppies Community Performance Trust, Manawatu-Wanganui: for theatre tuition classes for people with intellectual disabilities
  • $1500 to Counterpoint, Otago: for a new production of The Merchant of Venice with an audio-described performance and other performances for secondary students
  • $1200 to Thumbs up Charitable Trust, Wellington: for one-hour, weekly interactive story sharing sessions for Thumbs Up Service users (intellectually disabled adults)

Funding criteria

Individuals, groups or arts organisations can apply for funding to support their arts or cultural projects. Projects that get funded do at least one of the following:

  • encourage participation,  creating opportunities for local communities to engage with, and participate in local arts activities
  • support the diverse artistic cultural traditions of local communities
  • enable young people (under 18 years) to engage with, and participate in the arts.

Activities include arts-related creative or professional development workshops such as wānanga and residencies; the presentation or re-presentation of artwork such as productions, concerts and exhibitions; and other kinds of arts-based projects or events such as art festivals.

StarJam's end-of-year concertCreative New Zealand receives comprehensive reports from each local authority to ensure that the three priorities – participation, diversity and young people – are well-supported within each community.

Projects don't need to be large or extensive, and grants range in size from $200 through to around $5000. For more examples of grants supporting arts projects involving disability or the Deaf community, go to Examples of Creative Communities Scheme grants .

For more information and application deadlines in your region, please visit your council website.
















Creative Communities Scheme supports diverse arts projects


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