Whanganui is already an "amazing centre" for arts and creativity but Riah King-Wall says council has a role to play in making the sector work even better for everyone.

"I think it's about finding ways for council to support what's already going on," Whanganui District Council's arts adviser said.

Over the past year, King-Wall has helped develop the council's proposed Arts and Culture Strategic Plan which has now been released for public consultation.

It was a 10-year vision for council's role in the arts and maps out "what council is doing to support that and what it can do better in other ways", she said.


"I was really fortunate to come into this position [in 2017] with that fulltime, dedicated 40 hours a week to spend on what the arts community wants from council.

"Whanganui's arts scene is so varied and the things that are going on with our arts and culture run the gamut from incredible dedicated community things that have an impact on just a few individuals to people working on a national scale and international scale in almost all the different arts forms that you can think of."

The proposed strategy identifies five goals; increasing mana whenua participation, championing arts and culture, connecting creative communities, creating a prosperous creative economy, and ensuring better access and engagement in the arts for all.

"Different groups want different things and that's all super valid," King-Wall said.

"But there are some united things across the board. I think the key thing that stuck out for me was everyone wants to be better networked and know what's going on."

King-Wall said council needed to communicate what it can do for arts and culture because it had a vital role to play in the sector whether through major institutions such as the Sarjeant Gallery and the museum or overseeing funding and public art

"Increasingly I think people are becoming aware of the breadth of what council does and should do in this space. We do have a role to play and a really important one I think.

"Pretty much every section of council does something in the arts and culture sphere."


She believed it was important for council to support arts and culture because it created a ripple effect of a strong creative economy for the wider district.

"It's a big part of how we market ourselves and the overall vision for the town.

"I think historically we've been extremely lucky to have these great champions who left us with incredible institutions and infrastructure like the Sarjeant and the museum and the Opera House.

"It's an opportunity Whanganui has. We have all the ingredients to be this amazing centre and in many ways we already are.

"We are well recognised for being a creative place - it's really just capitalising on that in ways that mean we are supporting our communities to do the creative things they want to do and having the biggest effect we can on the wider community as a result."


Public submissions to the council's proposed Arts and Culture Strategic Plan close at 5pm on March 15.

"I'm really keen to get your feedback on whether you think that's necessary, sensible and how it can be improved," King-Wall said.

To see the proposed plan and submit feedback online visit whanganui.govt.nz/haveyoursay or email policysubmissions@whanganui.govt.nz.

Hard copies of the plan and submission forms are available from council's temporary customer services area at 179 St Hill St, Davis Library, or Gonville Cafe Library.