From its beginnings Dunedin oozed creativity. Thomas Bracken penned our national anthem and Frances Hodgkins studied here. McCahon, Frame, Hotere, Baxter, Lawson, Reed, Hall, the Chills and so many other creatives expressed their muse from Dunedin.
Contemporary Dunedin sparkles with creative enterprise: internationally sought-after architects, renowned fashion and appliance designers, electronic engineers, musicians, app builders and poets. From a population of 125,000, Dunedin generates several theatre companies, operatics, musicals and folk festivals, supports a multi-disciplinary art school, provides a platform for arts and writers’ festivals and a seriously quirky Fringe. Our prestigious brass and pipe bands have been stirring us so long we have forgotten when they first drew breath. Dunedin’s high school kids’ voices soar in kapa haka, choral and rock. Overnight, Dunedin’s street art is world class. City of Literature, choirs, composers and Sinfonia: we have them all.
Our city has a tremendous foundation to build on as we work to enable and realize our artistic aspirations. We are doing that by developing an Arts and Culture Strategy. Not a Council Arts and Culture Strategy – but a community-wide symphony expressing the creative impulse lurking in most corners of our community. It has long driven much of what we are good at – in the University, the Polytechnic and high schools, and in our museums, galleries, studios and workshops.
Ara Toi is the opportunity to enable our creative genie to take the stage as a lead player rather than a walk-on part.
Mayor of Dunedin
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