John Stringer (Papanui Ward)

What value do you see the arts having in Christchurch, and how will you support the arts?
I am a practising and exhibiting Canterbury artist myself and was a gallery curator at CoCA on Gloucester St; Canterbury's oldest arts establishment next to the new Art Gallery on Montreal and was on the Executive of the Friends of the Chch Arts Gallery during its transition from the Robert McDougall; I also have a degree in art history and have written widely on the NZ arts and artists so obviously already understand the value of the arts to the heart and soul of a city,

I have supported local artists by organising exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne; I believe in a roll of the Council at the 'coal face' of local arts beyond the financial commitment to running a regional arts gallery; Educationally I won a teaching scholarship to complete a Bachlr of Fine Arts  at Akl Uni but chose Classics instead at Victoria (to MA level) with a second major in art history and continued practising art at a practical level.

I will support events and facilities to showcase more emerging art and artists locally and would like to see that happen much more at Te Puna O Waiwhetu. 

What value do you see social enterprise having in Christchurch, and how will you support it?
I am a small businessman myself and run two small enterprises in the city; I favour this approach to growth; and would like to encourage (or cajole?) large developers to be more mindful of small operators the 'Ma & Pa Kettle' investors who want to have a go in Christchurch; so that means more condusive rents and less of an emphasis on the 'Mega World Brands;' I favour a de-evolution of the very high setup expectations of some developers which has narrowed the pool of small enterprises in Chch being able to set up and trade without mortgaging everything they have.

What would the city look like today without the transitional movement post earthquake?
Cathedral Square would have continued its decline with the people shopping and trading increasingly in the ring suburbs; but I think the Arts would have accelerated as the strong competition between Chch and Wgtn for 'Cultural Arts Capital of NZ' took on more activity; but the earthquakes have decimated the Arts community and expression in Chch.  However the transition has created new opportunities for us in the Arts and I favour an even more aggressive public sculpture expression in the city; as well as opportuities to more closely blend Architecture with Art in our public spaces if we will embrace this dynamic more boldly along the lines of the Dawson sculptures; my namesake the Stringer sculptore opposite the Cathedral;  the lost opportunity to have had the Henry Moore "Sheep' on the port hills; and interactive artworks as 'icons' of Christchurch.

If we took all economic factors out of the equation, how would you value the contribution of the Arts?
The Arts is an expression of and investment in our soul as a people; our culture; and our 'home' and cannot be measured purely in terms of financial measures; so I am and always have been a bold advocate of the arts and once ran a business doing exactly this because of believe in the value of the Arts to the wholeness of New Zealand.

Christchurch is fast becoming the social enterprise centre of New Zealand, reflected in the fact we are hosting the 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum.What seems common practice in UK city councils is for these governance bodies to prioritise social enterprises in all tendering processes to encourage local economies. What are your thoughts around bringing similar policies into CCC?
This is a valuable discussion; I favour a much stronger 'social contract' by all parties to the Arts (politicians developers rate payers; patrons; visitors etc) as an expression of the use of buildings how parks look government or Council-owned facilities used by the people of Christchurch (bus stops swimming pools squares roads etc) and believe we can be much more creative artistically in these areas.