The writer, Peter Moore, has some great ideas for rejuvenisation of Geelong by spending $500,000 on arts projects instead of a silly bling Christmas tree. Good idea Peter.
Peter Moore. Source: News Limited
LET’S forget the polarisation both sought after and encouraged by Mayor Darryn Lyons. And let’s forget the mind-numbing council trivialisation that has dominated the pages of the Advertiser over the past week or so.
The new “official’’ crest (which, for some reason, isn’t official) and the planned redesign of the mayoral chain would on their own qualify for two of my 2014 annual awards — the Most Irrelevant Council Initiative and the Who Cares? Not Me Or Anyone Else Council Proposal.
We have also in the past week raised the bar at the “artist’s impression’’ level to accommodate the newer digital imaging with the hanging baskets of the CBD. These are all diversions from the main task at hand which, as most people seem to agree, is the revitalisation of the sad and sorry CBD.
Mayoral chains, new council crests, hanging baskets and unaffordable and unwanted Christmas trees do not a CBD make. What does is activity, people and an environment that encourages the wider community to want to visit the city centre.
As has oft been stated, if you look at any similar city throughout the world that has transitioned from manufacturing to some other status, most have based their rejuvenation through culture and the arts. Geelong has a proud and lively arts scene and has dipped its toe into this well-worn path of progress before in recent times.
Filmmaker Fiona Hergstrom with student Enzo Pitaro and Cr Bruce Harwood promote Shoot Out Geelong in 2008. Source: News Limited
Do you remember the Shoot Out Film Festival that the council promoted and ran for a couple of years in 2000 or so? A great concept as 20 or more teams from around Australia competed overnight to produce a movie based in Geelong. Only “in camera” editing was allowed and the finalists showed their wares to a packed house and panel of judges at Costa Hall the following day.
As often happens, enthusiasm and impetus for this faded, money to promote it became an issue and a potential annual festival with all the inherent benefits of interest, tourism, national — and down the track international — awareness were lost in a sea of indecision and apathy.
Why can’t we resurrect this concept of the Shoot Out film festival? This time, why not put up a prize of $100,000 for the winner? I could see not only Australian but international interest with prizemoney of this size.
Council has allocated $500,000 to a floating Christmas tree, which architects say cannot be built for that price. Source: Supplied
And why stop there? How about another $100,000 prize for the Greatest Poetry Shoot Out in the World, $100,000 for the Best Short Story in the World, $100,000 for the Best 12-hour Portrait of a Living Person and $100,000 for the Best Human Condition Photograph taken in a 24-hour period?
Just by happenstance, I’ve allocated $500,000 of the council’s annual budget to these arts projects. Also by happenstance, the $500,000 I’ve allocated matches the money council wants to spend on a Christmas tree.
Two points here: the Christmas tree the Mayor wants to build quite simply can’t be built for that price; and which concept is likely to attract year-round interest and visitors to Geelong?
I’ve thought about it and in a completely unbiased and unselfish assessment of the potential of five huge annual cultural activities, attracting worldwide interest against an unbuildable Christmas, my festivals win, win, win!