Creative enterprises could receive a helping hand to fund their infrastructure with Whanganui and Partners inviting applications for five Amplify grants, each valued up to $4000.
Whanganui and Partners creative industries and arts strategic lead Emma Bugden said the grants were aimed at strengthening the infrastructure of creative enterprises in Whanganui, as opposed to the "glitz and glamour" side of them.
"Amplify is a little bit different to most arts grants, which are very focused on public outcomes like exhibitions, events, performances and gigs," Bugden said.
"These ones look at the back-of-house stuff, the infrastructure that keeps you going, and a boost to that infrastructure can be a game-changer.
"It's aimed across the board, at creative organisations, creative businesses and sole traders, as well as across creative industries, from carvers to film-makers to designers to musicians."
Bugden said the grants weren't aimed at start-ups but at organisations and people that had a track record and could demonstrate their commitment to Whanganui.
"Whether that's telling local stories in what they do, they're based here, or they make and design their products here, they need to argue their relevance to Whanganui, because that's what we're interested in growing.
"Successful applicants can also have a business planning session with our business support team, so that's something else we can offer on top of the $4000.
"It's not just about handing over money, although that's nice, it's about developing an ongoing relationship with somebody."
Bugden said examples of projects that could possibly receive funding included website upgrades, purchasing equipment and expanding operations to employ more staff.
"We want to help with that stuff that is crucial to your work, but perhaps not obvious to other people."
The position of creative industries and arts strategic lead was split into three parts, Bugden said.
"The first part is about retaining talent, and ensuring that there are professional pathways for creatives in Whanganui, so you can work nationally or internationally and remain here, and not have to move to Auckland or Berlin.
"The second part is about attracting new talent.
"For instance, if you're a visual artist in Auckland with a studio the size of a desk, perhaps you'd like to move to Whanganui and have a warehouse space instead."
Bugden said the third part of her role was promoting Whanganui as a creative destination, and one of the "big points" she was working towards was the relaunch of the Sarjeant Gallery in 2023, which would attract an extra 22,000 visitors to the city.
"Those visitors will be interested in the arts and, as fabulous as the Sarjeant will be, it's not an entire weekend of activities.
"A lot of the work I'm doing now is thinking about strengthening our infrastructure so that if you come to the Sarjeant, you'll stay and go to a plethora of other, smaller galleries, you'll buy artworks and local craft, and you'll go to a gig or a poetry reading.
"The whole creative sector can benefit from the 'lifting up' of the Sarjeant."
Whanganui and Partners will host its first Creatives Coffee Cake networking event at Article Cafe on Wednesday, September 9, Bugden said.
"As much as people have adapted to being online, I think it's still important to be in a room together and chatting."