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 (enquire here). Here are six major arts platforms and a further three significant projects we have supported since 2010.

Neighbourhood of Truth 2022

Cushla Donaldson’s latest work Neighbourhood of Truth and accompanying performance Me and You Copy Paste have been staged at Artspace Auckland and City Gallery Wellington

Cushla Donaldson and Quentin Linds’s film unveils sensitivities and fractures within the New Zealand settler colonial psyche and its ideologies and what they might mean for the self-determination of working-class New Zealanders.Cushla developed the performance in collaboration with actors Matthew Sunderland, Meg Sydenham and NYX electronic Drone Choir. The performance draws on the naturalistic horror tradition, ‘hot and cold’ theatre and South American political theatre. In developing the performance, the actors engaged with personal, political narratives and disinformation.

Signed, Theo Schoon 2021

An intensely artistic soul is raised in the East, trained in the West, and replanted in the South, Theo Schoon’s artistic spirit guided him to cultural camaraderie, a strong liaison with the Māori community and the landscape. In this new feature length documentary, this legacy is re-considered. Signed, Theo Schoon is a BWX Production, directed by Luit Bieringa, edited by Lala Rolls and produced by Jan Bieringa. An excerpt can be viewed here, and further detail is available from Jan Bieringa,

Signed, Theo Schoon premieres at Whānau Mārama – New Zealand International Film Festival 2021 and is screening across New Zealand 28th October – 5th December 2021 at the following centres:

Christchurch: 10 & 11 November, Dunedin: 12 November, Gore: 13 November, Hamilton: 14 & 15 November, Hawkes Bay: 29 November & 5 December, Masterton: 28 November, Nelson: 27 & 29 November – 2 December, New Plymouth: 18 November – 5 December, Palmerston North: 5 December, Tauranga: 21 November, Timaru: 21 November, Wellington: 6 & 17 November

Curators of Wellington 2020

McLeavey Gallery manager Grace Ridley-Scott interviewed by Suzanne Tamaki

A window into the workings of our small galleries around Wellington city in varied different contexts, Curators of Wellington 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 Curators of Cuba, a series of dozens of interviews with gallerists and their artists along Cuba Street. The project expanded to include 28 galleries and creative spaces across Wellington. You can view all interviews here. Funded by Wellington City Council and galleries. 

Urban Dream Brokerage Wellington 2020-2021

Electromagnetic Geographies, Julian Oliver. 2020. Image: Milan Maric and Linda Lee.

In late 2020 Urban Dream Brokerage was re-launched in Wellington by Maverick Creative. In the wake of a world changed by covid-19, UDB continues to facilitate the innovative use of vacant and underutilised retail and public space to creatively build community.

Since relaunching in Wellington, commissioned projects have included; Electromagnetic Georgraphies by Julian Oliver, Common Space by Mouthfull Productions, and Rongoā-marae-roa-a rangi: He moemoeā by Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka. More information on project criteria and applying can be found here.

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!”

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. Urban Dream Brokerage is a service that was founded by Letting Space under the auspices of the Wellington Independent Arts Trust. Between 2012-2018 UDB facilitated projects over four CBDs: Wellington, Dunedin, Porirua and Masterton.

Working for long term change, Urban Dream Brokerage encourages diverse innovative projects that involve public participation and has helped seed many successful ongoing creative projects. Down south, the brokerage has successfully transitioned into the locally managed Dunedin Dream Brokerage, which continues today.

Brokered Dreams: 98 Uses for Vacant Space is a UDB book documenting projects brokered between 2013 to 2018 in Wellington, Dunedin, Masterton and Porirua with words from both Letting Space and the occupants.

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, Kaikōura and Japan with those in Wellington. Major projects in Kaikōura and Japan have followed, with a nationwide New Zealand project launched in 2020.

Performance Art Week Aotearoa 2017-2019

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.”

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 Māori 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.

Letting Space 2010 -2018

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, Taupō and Christchurch. Letting Space were the winners of the Wellington Airport Wellington City Supreme Community Award in 2015. A book is in production 2021-22.

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