The indispensable role of the arts advisor is often overlooked. The individuals that fill these roles are the connectors who quietly blow energy in the direction of the artistic endeavours that bring our towns and cities to life.
Today we would like farewell and wish good luck to Barbara Procter, as she leaves her role as Regional Funding Advisor for Arts and Culture at Auckland Council.
With a firm belief that art should contribute towards a wider social purpose, Barbara carries an attitude of generosity which she uses to open doors for the many artists, community groups and individuals who she works alongside.
Here at The Big Idea, we would like to offer a tribute to Barbara and the essential role that she has played as communicator, relationship-builder and friend to many in our arts community. We asked a few people about Barbara, and what we got back from them sums up the character, generosity of spirit and panache that she carries into her work. She will be greatly missed and we remain hopeful for her return!
"Barbara is the best. She gets it. Often bureaucracy can feel impossible to penetrate and designed to make things difficult but that was never the case with Barbara. She never once made me feel anything else than 100% supported and understood. That is so incredibly valuable as an artist, because that kind of personal validation and pastoral care is so rare.
Barbara is also, as much as is possible to be at Council, really subversive. Her signature machine gun delivery always had the flavour of "read between the lines and see what I am saying here", which made her feel like a real ally. This wasn't an accident, that's exactly what she is. She absolutely loves the artistic community and that shows in every interaction that I have had with her."
Sam Snedden, Business & Industry Development Manager, Basement Theatre
"Empathetic, committed and always bubbling with enthusiasm, Barbara has been a constant source of thoughtful, valuable advice and support for me over the two decades that I have known and worked with her, through our various arts and cultural roles.
We share a strong belief in the need for a flourishing artistic and creative aspect to life and over numerous cups of coffee and not a few glasses of wine, have shared some powerful arts experiences as a result. I know Barb will continue to bring her incredible knowledge and irrepressible energy to life in the arts – and lucky those who get to know and work with her!"
Vanessa Zigliani, Manager, NZ Trio
"Most people who know, or work with, or even who have just come across Barbara can quickly pick up that she is incredibly generous, caring and genuine with her time, advice and experience in her various roles in the Auckland arts sector. On a personal note, I can share that Barbara is not just a great friend to the arts, but a great friend, period. We will miss her dearly, and I am hopeful that we’ll welcome her back into the sector here in time to come."
Yee Yang 'Square' Lee 李羽阳, Managing Director, Why Square
"She was truly an arts ‘advisor’. When I came to The Big Idea, Barbara was one of the first people I met and I was impressed how she patiently sat down and took me through how the sector worked. She actually embodied community – always keen to introduce people to each other. A kinder and warmer heart you couldn’t meet – a door opener."
Annie Ackerman, CEO, The Big Idea