The Central Otago arts scene has received a blow with the cancellation of a nationwide arts competition.

The Arts Gold Awards, a biennial fine art competition covering a range of disciplines hosted at Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, has been cancelled for 2021.

Entries were scheduled to close at the end of this month.

More than 300 entries had been received previous years.

The uncertainty of the Covid environment had negatively impacted on the event’s organiser, the Alexandra District Museum Board (ADMI)’s, ability to secure naming rights and sponsorship for the event.

When this was coupled with a reduction in annual grant funding for the museum’s operations by the Central Otago District Council, ADMI decided it was time to pull the pin on the awards for 2021.

Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery manager Brian Budd said it was a disappointing decision to make.

“It’s hard given there’s quite a lot of work gone into it the first event I’ve had to cancel in my career of running art events but everyone is in difficult times,”Mr Budd said.

“The whole Covid environment is still making it hard for events to actually run.”

There was less disposable income available in the community as businesses were reluctant to commit to sponsorship, he said.

“I guess the other thing that makes things difficult is the loss of the grant from CODC, so that means as an organisation we’re having to look at how we operate,” he said.

The Arts Gold Awards would return in 2022.