Emerging Asian artists supported by the Asian Artists Fund

Asian artists have received more than $400,000 as part of a new fund to support initiatives by, with and for Asian art communities.

The first time Asian Artists Fund is a partnership between Creative New Zealand and Foundation North. The fund recognizes that there is a strong interest in the arts within the Asian community and its aim is to encourage greater participation in funding.

A wide range of art forms and genres were supported, ranging from street dance, literature, graphic novels, visual and performing arts. Many of the applications received and many of those funded included a mentorship component to support the development of emerging artists.

Foundation North and Creative New Zealand have a history of partnership dating back to 2015. Both organizations recognize the true value of mahitahi – working together to achieve larger-scale projects and impacts, and are delighted with the success of their latest collaboration.

To improve reach, reduce barriers and provide the broadest accessibility to Asian arts communities, the fund has integrated a community-led approach with design elements of traditional funding programs. Through the established networks in Auckland and Northland, Community Outreach Advisors connected, advised and assisted artists and arts practitioners in developing their funding applications. A steering group made up of practitioners and artists from the Asian arts community reviewed the applications. The steering group made the final funding recommendations to Foundation North.

The fund has attracted applications from emerging artists and experienced and well-known artists for large-scale projects and initiatives in many different art forms. Opened in early January and closed in March 2022, interest in the fund has greatly exceeded the $300,000 available. After seeing the high caliber of projects and the great demand for the fund, an additional $130,000 was added to the fund. The total pool of $430,000 funded 19 of the 81 projects.

Audry McLaren, Head of Fundraising at Foundation North, said: “WWe are delighted with the interest of the Asian artist community in this fund – the total amount requested was $1.9 million. This level of demand reinforces the adoption of a community-based approach to reaching targeted communities. It is great news that our administrators have increased the allocation to the fund, which means that more artists and projects could be supported.

Cath Cardiff of Creative New Zealand said, “We celebrate the diversity within Aotearoa and share with our partners a commitment to help artists and communities become self-determined. The caliber of submissions demonstrates both a need for funding and the huge untapped potential of the Asian artist community. We are already discussing the possibility of running another iteration of this fund in the future.


Foundation North is Auckland and Northland’s community trust supporting community initiatives large and small since 1988. The Foundation’s vision is to improve lives. The Foundation supports impactful mahi which helps to increase equity, social inclusion, regenerative environment and community support. Learn more www.foundationnorth.org.nz
Foundation North media contact: [email protected]

The Asian Artists’ Fund is an initiative supported by Creative New Zealand and Foundation North. Creative New Zealand is the national arts development agency that develops, invests in and champions the arts.

© Scoop Media

Corina C. Butler