Arts vs Sport
I am currently chairing the governing committee of our local Art Gallery and it is exciting to be contemplating and promoting some really strong proposals for future development.
Our Gallery has been managed for over 60 years on limited funding, minimal staff (one full-time person only) and a heap of goodwill and voluntary support. Despite our whole annual budget being little different from the annual drinks bill for Rugby Southland our art collection and gallery management has been recently assessed as being equal or better than other provincial galleries in New Zealand.
As a passionate supporter of all visual and performing arts in Invercargill I see incredible quality and value in our local artistic ventures. Southlanders are also great supporters of the arts and our local theatre is generally packed for a variety of performances. I don't think many people are aware that Invercargill's Civic Theatre is the only theatre in the South Island, outside Christchurch, that has the capacity to present full ballet productions.
The debacle around Rugby Southland's budget blowout has led to some general soul searching as people begin to question the value they get from sport. The huge salaries many players received within the Southland Stags now seem excessive (especially as most would earn twice the remuneration of our Gallery Manager).
I have been pleased to hear from a number of sources that, after many decades, the tide is turning within community funders and we may have some very favourable responses to any requests for financial support.
It is time to get some balance back in our communities and recognize the transient nature of sporting achievement (the Ranfurly Shield?) compared to the ongoing value we gain from our Art collections and artistic performances.