Hard news story

Counihan, artists

Anastasia McInerney

April 28, 2015

Intended publication: Moreland Leader

Intended audience: Residents of Moreland

Catering costs covered by Counihan artists

Artists exhibiting work at Brunswick’s Counihan Gallery were paying for catering revealed Mayor Meghan Hopper at last night’s Moreland Council meeting in Coburg.

Mayor Hopper said she “immediately objected” to the Council’s “poor form” to let “struggling” artists fund the catering for a public council event.

“It’s like being invited to something and bringing your own supper,” Councillor John Kavanagh said at the meeting.

Moreland’s councillors are provided with a “hot dinner” before each council meeting so funding the eight remaining Counihan Gallery exhibitions which weren’t already was possible.

Mayor Hopper proposed increasing the Arts and Culture budget by $2,100 on a rolling basis through “spare funding” acquired from giving up a personal fleet car.

“If I’ve got the savings I’ve accrued from my own choices then I’m putting that into art,” Mayor Hopper said.

“No one could really argue with me on that one.”

The annual budget for adding to the Municipal Art collection was $13,000 and $12,500 for the Public Art collection, “not even a third” of the Christmas decoration replacement budget at $80,000.

Mayor Hopper said she had “no beef” with Christmas decorations but preferred to improve the Arts budget to support Moreland’s “melting pot of creativity”.

“In comparison to many other municipalities and especially inner-city, our expenditure on public art is pitiful,” she said.

The total allocation to the Arts budget increased to $22,100 for 2016 which included the purchasing of local artist works.

“Arts is always a contentious issue even in a progressive council such as Moreland,” Mayor Hopper said.

“We have not always had consistent support.”

Councillor for Finance and Economic development Lambros Tapinos was unable to comment about the extra funding put into Moreland’s Arts budget.

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