Wellington Independent Arts Trust is proud to support independent arts projects committed to social change and community engagement through providing an umbrella for funding and grant applications. We are a group of committed, experienced independent artists and producers who work to see art across forms more integrated into all aspects of society. We welcome the chance to discuss supporting new projects. Here are six major arts platforms and a further three significant projects we have supported since 2010.

Theo Schoon 2021

Schoon growing gourds in a domestic garden in Auckland. 

Theo Schoon is the next feature length documentary by BWX Productions, directed by Luit Bieringa, edited by Lala Rolls and produced by Jan Bieringa. The film introduces an influential and at times, controversial artist, revealing the natural, social and cultural landscapes he engaged with and challenged. The documentary journeys the cultural and physical landscapes of Aotearoa with side trips to Schoon’s beloved Indonesia. The legacy of his work and his connection with other artists from 1939-1984 is important for us to better know who we are, where we have come from. An excerpt can be viewed here. Further detail is available from Jan Bieringa,

Curators of Cuba 2020-

McLeavey Gallery manager Grace Ridley-Scott interviewed by Suzanne Tamaki

A rwindow into the workings of our small galleries around Wellington city in varied different contexts, Curators of Cuba is a short film series presented by CubaDupa and ArtExplore, produced by Mark Amery for the Wellington Independent Arts Trust. In response to Covid-19 lockdown this began as a series of dozens of interviews with gallerists and their artists. You can view them here. Funded by Wellington City Council and galleries. 

Letting Space 2010 –

Projected Fields Siv B Fjaerestad, Letting Space, Wellington 2015. Image: Grant Sheehan.

Letting Space is a celebrated independent public art and urban revitalisation organisation. Letting Space curates and manages art and media projects that aim to increase public space and enable social change. The programme has included over a dozen major art projects nationally: Wellington, Auckland, Taupo and Christchurch. Letting Space were the winners of the Wellington Airport Wellington City Supreme Community Award in 2015. A book is in production.

The HeART of the Matter 2016

Pine Taipa teaching Para Matchitt finer points of carving, HeART of the Matter

This significant documentary film (NZ on Screen trailer and link to stream) traces the establishment of a thoroughly bicultural and arts-centred education system, led by Gordon Tovey, the Education Department’s National Supervisor of Arts and Crafts 1946-66. It has become a touchstone for people today calling for changes to New Zealand’s education system. A film produced by BWX Productions, it premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival, screened on Maori Television and continues to have screenings nationwide.

Lōemis 2016 –

Image: Vanessa Rushton

Lōemis is an annual week-long multi-disciplinary festival that is designed to connect with Maruaroa o Takurua, the winter solstice. It was established in 2016 and has continued to grow and develop since its inception.

The festival has a focus on new, immersive works that are tailored specifically towards the festival’s ethos and provides a valuable platform from which artists can create and present material.

Shared Lines Aotearoa 2017-

Shared Lines: Wellington. Photo Ebony Lamb

Shared Lines is a platform that works through festivals and projects to highlight the community building and resilience work artists do in earthquake affected regions. It emerged out of the earthquake events that devastated Canterbury, New Zealand, and Fukushima, Japan in 2011 and in 2017 we first umbrella-ed the production of Shared Lines: Wellington a project of exhibition, performance and discussion bringing together artists from Christchurch, Kaikoura and Japan with those in Wellington. Major projects in Kaikoura and Japan have followed, with a nationwide project in development from 2020 on.

Urban Dream Brokerage 2013-2018

Site Works, Dunedin, Urban Dream Brokerage. Image: Justin Spiers.

An agency facilitating the dynamic, creative use of vacant commercial spaces in New Zealand CBDs, in partnership with local authorities and property owners. The Urban Dream Brokerage has thus far facilitated over 115 projects over four CBDs: Wellington, Dunedin, Porirua and Masterton 2013-2018. Working for long term change, the project encourages diverse innovative projects that involve public participation. It has helped seed many successful ongoing creative projects. It encourages new ways for our cities to be more liveable and assist urban revitalisation. Down south, the brokerage has successfully transitioned into the locally managed Dunedin Dream Brokerage, which continues. A UDB book of projects 2013-18 is in production.

The Anti-Perfectionism Recovery (Lockdown) Sessions 2020

Artist Sian Torrington’s series of community creative workshops have been, after lockdown, in response to “Covid 19, and all the change happening in the world”. As part of this she provided a series of four free online drawing sessions using colour, charcoal, collage and writing, with funding from Wellington City Council. “These sessions are not about getting it right,” she wrote, “but play, experiment, relaxing and coming to ourselves with acceptance, just the way we are right now. They’re designed as an antidote to the narrative during lockdown around being productive, like writing that novel or whatever!”

Performance Art Week Aotearoa 2017-

Performance by Brydee Rood. 2017. Image:  Essie Airisniemi 

PAWA is a platform for performance art in New Zealand running events year round and hosting a festival, which WIAT has provided umbrella support for funding in 2017 and 2019. PAWA brings together a wide variety of performance artists from around New Zealand and the world with the intent to stimulate critical discourse, broaden audiences, and strengthen artistic ties. Working in many different kinds of public spaces, producer Sara Cowdell writes, “It not only serves as a space to host work but also as a space of giving and sharing, a space to create dialogue in the vein of reciprocation and celebration. It aims to showcase work that is challenging, engaging, and at times, quite confronting.”