Wellington mayor Justin Lester holds the city’s arts and culture portfolio and is dedicated to a “decade of culture” from July this year. In this Urban Dreams Podcast Lester tells Sophie Jerram about the $127 million that has been prioritised for the arts over the next 10 years, plans by council for affordable housing - in which he sees artists a vital part of that mix - and treating artists the same as start-up businesses. He also commits to holding Grant and Jacinda to account on Labour’s policy pledge to reintroduce a PACE (Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment) scheme.
This podcast is part of Urban Dream Brokerage’s monthly lunchtime conversation series - empowering artists to work more as part of Wellington city.
During discussion time afterwards Lester announced that we will get light rail in Wellington (no court cases willing!), his wish to see the four stop signs in Cuba Street in Te Reo Maori, and greater access of the Hannah Playhouse for midcareer artists. There was much discussion about options for a much-needed 500 seater-and-up venue, and a planned function centre with the need expressed for artists and theatre technicians to be involved in the design specifications.
Finally, there was also discussion of the concerns about cuts in arts content in the Dominion Post and future public media options. The mayor says council are exploring developing their own news channel and would be interested in playing a more direct role in building more coverage for the arts with other partners beyond the printed newspaper.
You’ll find other Urban Dream podcasts via this blog. We recommended you start with our last, a conversation with artist Kerry Ann Lee and choreographer Sacha Copland about the art of being in business.