Murals by Millie - Chorus Cabinet Art Project. Photo by Jess Lowcher
With a vision to facilitate an environment where arts, culture and creativity thrive, Creative Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust (Creative BOP) advocates for and supports the growth of arts and culture in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty.
Supporting the growth of arts, culture and creativity contributes significantly to the vibrancy and wellbeing of our communities, as well as positively impacting economic growth and prosperity. Creative BOP supports individual artists and creatives, art organisations, hapū and iwi, and the wider community under four key workstreams of connecting, capability building, advocacy and promotion.
Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty are vibrant districts and home to highly skilled and passionate local arts, culture and creative individuals and groups. Creative BOP provides a range of free services that focus on enabling these creatives. They have a passion across their team and board to make a difference and are always talking to the sector, with around 500 in-person connections each year.
By building strong connections and networking throughout the creative community over recent years, Creative BOP has built capability through workshops and a bespoke mentoring programme, as well as facilitating networking and promoting events and opportunities – all of which have made a lasting positive impact on the sector.
Annie Hill, Creative BOP’s Funding and Capability Advisor, says there are still exciting new opportunities they want to take advantage of, however the sector already feels much more cohesive, with lots of collaborative activities facilitated by Creative BOP or by connections made by the creatives themselves.
“The most important thing for artists who work independently is to connect with others, share information and talk about their work.”
The Creative BOP team have shared that artists and creatives, despite their passion and hard work, have a significantly lower average income than New Zealand as a whole ($19,000 vs $70,000). As they often work alone, they can struggle with their relevance and confidence, finding it difficult to develop channels to market and receive acknowledgement of their work.
“Creatives often juggle part-time work to supplement their income and find it challenging to find the space in their lives to create and manage all of the requirements to monetise this,” says Annie.
“Although the idea of the struggling artist is not one we wish to promote, it is often the case. We want their work and the creative sector to be seen and appreciated, so helping them develop their confidence, skills, and channels to do this is important.”
Creative BOP recently received $90,000 in funding from TECT. This funding will go towards the organisation’s operational expenses.
Bill Holland, TECT Chairperson says, TECT want Tauranga and Western Bay to be vibrant places where people, families and communities thrive. Supporting Creative BOP falls under our strategic focus area of Community Wellbeing and Vibrancy, as we can provide responsive grant funding to ensure the creative community continues to develop with their help.
“Creative work is individually diverse, and designs, messages, and intentions depend on the creator. This brings variation into our communities where each person experiencing a piece of art or creative work can learn from it in their own way, become more aware of our history or enjoy it at varying levels.”
Annie Hill says TECT’s funding is extremely valuable, as Creative BOP could not deliver many of their most impactful programmes and services without TECT’s support of their mahi.
Programmes which TECT’s recent funding will support are Creative BOP’s recently established Around the Table podcast series, where stories of creative people and cultural experiences are shared to build greater interest, awareness and audiences. This series will elevate the profiles of local creatives in a conversational setting, with the roundtable format offering opportunities for synergistic discourse and unique storytelling.
The Mini Arts Grants scheme will also continue thanks to recent funding, which stimulates creative activity in the sub-region during times of the year when activities slow down. This grants scheme is also partnered with TECT and approved 12 grants to the community last year.
Alongside enabling and promoting creative work, Creative BOP will use this funding to strengthen themselves and their understanding of the creative sector. A follow-up to the 2019 Youth Mapping Research Project of surveying 500 secondary school students will be completed to measure movement over time. This project will also underpin advocacy messaging around investing in the arts to support education and wellbeing.
Annie shared that they also plan to extend their capability-building programme, which invests in developing workshops targeting creatives and continuing a bespoke mentoring programme, with around 20 creatives currently engaged in this initiative.
Creative BOP recently underwent a brand refresh. This followed the gifting of the name Te Waka Auaha Toi to the organisation by tangata whenua to reflect the services provided to the creative sector. 'Te Waka Auaha Toi' translates to the vehicle on which our creative sector is led and supported. Creative Bay of Plenty | Te Waka Auaha Toi is honoured to have a name that speaks to deep and meaningful cultural expressions and a shared connection to the moana.
“Adding huge value to the support we can provide, our newly created Ngā Māori Navigator role enables us to provide bespoke support to the Māori creative sector, including hapū and Māori entities. As an organisation, we have a better understanding of te ao Māori,which is reflected in our programmes, with Māori leading in this space with their cultural perspective and knowledge,” says Annie.
With the exciting opportunity to offer more support to cultural and creative aspirations of tangata whenua through the Ngā Māori Navigator role, and encourage Māori and non-Māori to navigate cultural values and practices appropriately and confidently, Creative BOP will be able to foster connections and collaboration for the mutal benefit of all in the community.
Jess Ellis Mural in Waihi Beach. Photo by Anna Menendez.
Maori Theatre Wanaga for Rangatahi. Photo by Jess Lowcher.
Tauranga Diwali Festival. Photo by Jess Lowcher.
Kaha Movement Dance Workshop. Photo by Anna Menendez.