Following the success of the Pride and Spark Empowerment Initiative, which helped 15 rainbow community groups bring their creative events and projects to life for Pride 2020, Spark has increased its investment, making additional funding available for Pride 2021.
A collaboration between the Auckland Pride Festival and Spark, the initiative is designed to help Auckland’s diverse rainbow communities take part in the upcoming festival by providing essential funding and support. The initiative makes it possible for many community groups, emerging artists and event producers to host events, removing barriers to participation and enabling diversity at the festival.
Already this year, demand has been huge. With just less than two weeks until submissions close, 14 community groups so far have been selected to receive funding and support for their Auckland Pride events, which range from small community get-togethers and pop-up museums to cirque cabaret and large-scale theatre performances.
Returning for 2021 is the cult classic and highlight of the Auckland Pride Festival, Night of the Queer, as well as Same Same But Black who will present ICONS as part of Black History Month and Pride, and the Queer Together Potluck Dinner – each of which also received funding for Pride 2020. Newcomers include Prismatica – an event for plant lovers that aims to foster social connection; Gowns, Beautiful Gowns – a drag showcase celebrating the role of gowns in queer culture; and Body Positive Inc’s Poz Picnic in the Park, promoting inclusion and acceptance of people living with HIV.
Director of Pride Max Tweedie says it’s great to see some of the same events returning for 2021, as well as a host of new ones – each of which has the objective to connect with diverse audiences, raise awareness and encourage a sense of community .
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of applications we have already received for funding – which shows resourcing is an ongoing issue for rainbow communities. It was particularly evident last year, that without funding a lot of the 2020 Auckland Pride events wouldn’t have been possible and consequently, a lot of voices wouldn’t have been heard.
“The Pride & Spark Empowerment Initiative was therefore pivotal to the success of the 2020 Auckland Pride Festival and I’m so pleased to be working with the Proud@Spark whānau on this community-centred partnership for a second year.”
Feedback from the community following Pride 2020 suggested that the funding and support provided through the initiative helped to advance more marginalised voices in the Pride Festival by ensuring diverse communities were represented in Pride and empowered to take part.
“For Auckland Pride 2021, after what has been an especially difficult and challenging year, it’s amazing to be able to offer even more funding, particularly as COVID-19 has impacted on many marginalised groups in our communities through isolation and disconnection. These Pride events aim to alleviate these impacts, and I look forward to seeing the benefits the initiative will have on the festival and Auckland’s rainbow communities as a whole,” says Tweedie.
The Pride & Spark Empowerment Initiative also includes access to workshops and industry experts. The workshops will ensure that vital, relevant advice and information, on topics like finances, event management, marketing and sponsorship, is given to those wanting to put on events as part of the festival. Those experts will volunteer their time to share their industry knowledge, insight, and tips on a
Spark has been supporting rainbow communities through its celebrated partnership with OUTLine, and
unwavering participation in Auckland Pride’s signature events, from OurMarch to the Ending HIV Big Gay Out. This Major Partnership has been born out of a shared commitment to the community-centric kaupapa of Auckland Pride and to advancing progress for more-marginalised voices in the Pride Festival.
Proud@Spark Coordinator Riki Hollings says Spark has always seen itself as an ally of the LQBTQ+ community and makes it a priority to find ways to help make a difference where it counts.
“The Pride and Spark Empowerment Initiative came from a shared commitment between the Auckland Pride team and Spark to help our diverse community to flourish. Our Proud@Spark community has been so proud to see more groups empowered to be represented in the festival and I can’t wait to see the exciting and fresh creative endeavours the funding, mentoring and workshops will enable for Pride 2021.”
Spark will also join in the celebrations at the Auckland Pride Party on the 27th of February at Aotea Square from 6pm. The night’s performances will sprawl across two stages, with food trucks
a-plenty and the Box Bar. Everyone is welcome to join the Party.