Floyds saved from closure
Community determination, the support of local Members of Parliament, and the commitment of its board and staff have kept open the doors of Christchurch creative space Floyds Creative Arts.
The creative space was facing closure after the Ministry of Social Development said last year that it had to raise $120,000 by the end of February or it would not renew its contract.
Over the past year, Floyds has trimmed costs and launched a major fundraising and profile-raising campaign. The result was cost savings of $99,712 and a fundraising total of $192,700. This includes a contract with charitable trust La Famia Foundation NZ, and support from Independent Fisheries and Canterbury Lions clubs.
Last week, Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett confirmed that she had extended Floyds' funding for another year.
“I was impressed by the strong community support for Floyds and likewise by the commitment to the community from Floyds,” she said.
Service as usual
A relieved and “cautiously optimistic” director, Bernard Cherry, says it’s “service as usual” this week for Floyds and its staff. The lobbying continues, however, with the same number of balls still in the air – and nobody at Floyds is taking their eyes off them, he says.
“Community support has been extraordinary and local MPs have been working cross-party to ensure the Minister was accurately briefed on the community’s involvement,” he says.
In 2008, Floyds Creative Arts sustained a loss when it rented space next to its location in Fitzgerald Avenue and attempted to set up an art gallery. The recession also meant that community funding to Floyds dropped by around 40 per cent in 2009.
Floyds is one of more than 75 creative spaces throughout the country providing artistic opportunities and support to people with limited access. The economic recession, changes in government priorities and the downturn in grants available through philanthropic thrusts have meant that many of these community organisations are struggling.
New Zealand Disability Strategy
One of the action points of Objective 9 in the New Zealand Disability Strategy (2001) is to “provide opportunities for disabled people to create, perform and develop their own arts and to access arts activities”.
Marianne Taylor, Co-Executive Director of Arts Access Aotearoa, says creative spaces are a key way the Government can fulfill its obligations under the New Zealand Disability Strategy and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“Equal access to the arts and creative expression is a fundamental human right. Creative spaces provide that access. Without them, many disabled and vulnerable New Zealanders would be denied the artistic and social opportunities they provide.”
Floyds Creative Arts has a roll of 2335 individuals – many of them disabled people, and people coping with difficult and challenging circumstances. At the moment, 136 organisations refer their clients and members to Floyds.
It has18 staff and offers six departments in art, leatherwork, pottery/ceramics, flax weaving, woodwork and sewing/rug making. Between 400 and 700 people visit the centre every week to participate in the various programmes.