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Emerging Asian artists supported through Asian Artists' Fund

08 June 2022   /   News & reports
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Asian artists have received over $400,000 as part of a new fund to support initiatives that are by, with and for Asian arts communities.

The first-time Asian Artists’ Fund is a partnership between Creative New Zealand and Foundation North. The fund recognises that there is strong interest in the arts within the Asian community and its purpose is to encourage greater participation in funding.

A wide range of artforms and genres were supported, ranging from street dance to literature including graphic novels, right through to visual and performing arts. A good portion of the applications received and several of those funded included a mentoring component to support the development of emerging artists.

Foundation North and Creative New Zealand have a history of partnership dating back to 2015. Both organisations recognise the true value of mahitahi – working together to achieve projects and impacts of greater scale, and are delighted with the success of their latest collaboration.

To improve reach, reduce barriers and have the widest accessibility for the Asian arts communities, the fund incorporated a community-led approach with traditional funding programme design elements. Through established Auckland and Northland networks, community-based Outreach Advisors connected, advised, and assisted artists and arts practitioners in developing their funding requests. A Steering Group comprised of practitioners and artists of the Asian arts community reviewed the requests. The Steering Group made the final funding recommendations to Foundation North.

The fund attracted requests from emerging artists and experienced and known artists for wide-ranging projects and initiatives across many different art forms. Opening in early January and closing in March 2022, the interest in the fund far exceeded the $300,000 available. After seeing the high calibre of the projects and the great demand for the fund, a further $130,000 was added to the fund. The total pool of $430,000 enabled the funding of 19 of the 81 projects.

Foundation North’s Funding Manager Audry McLaren commented, “We’re delighted by the interest from the Asian artist community in this fund – the total amount requested was $1.9 million. This level of demand reinforces taking a community-led approach to reaching targeted communities. It is great news that our Trustees increased the allocation to the fund, meaning more artists and projects could be supported.”

Creative New Zealand’s Cath Cardiff said, “We celebrate the diversity within Aotearoa and share with our partners a commitment to supporting artists and communities to be self-determining. The calibre of the applications demonstrates both a funding need and the enormous untapped potential in the Asian artist community. We are already discussing the potential of running another iteration of this fund in the future.”