One of my favourite parts of my role as managing director of Creative Matters is helping artists and designers to connect with the community, working with them to create a workshop or programme concept and helping them to make it happen. We are lucky to have a wonderful community venue available to us, Kumeu Arts Centre, as well as access to other cool venues around Auckland, and a strong artistic community to draw from.
One example of this positive process is the work we are doing with Muriwai Beach (NZ) artist Samantha Stokes stokedsamantha.com/. Sam is preparing for a show at Kumeu Arts Centre early-mid July and approached us to discuss the possibility of running 2 Creative Matters workshops for children in conjunction with her exhibition, as part of our Holiday Programme. Her work is centered around celebrating the wilderness of New Zealand and this series focuses on the vibrancy and spirit of our animals and landscapes. Each work highlights a native animal and the environment they live in. Some of the animals depicted are thriving, others are endangered and in need of our respect. We brainstormed to work out a way we could incorporate her show with an art experience for children/teens, whilst also educating children around NZ marine life. As a past art educator at Auckland Art Gallery, I love the great synergy between observing and discussing work in a Gallery and art making. Watch this space for more info on Sam's workshops and show in the term 2 holidays.
Art practitioner/curator/facilitator and Creative Matters art tutor Anna Hanson has designed a workshop for us called The Department of Repair - Explorations of the fundamentals of darning, visible mending, hemmed patch and creative stitch, which we ran as a one off workshop for adults on a Saturday morning at Kumeu Arts Centre. We're now talking about extending this workshop into the city, with the possibility of running it on a regular basis in her Ponsonby studio.
Muriwai artist (and Creative Matters art tutor) Tanya Blong www.tanyablong.com/ has developed a workshop for adults, Portrait Revolution, that is far from your average portraiture workshop, exploring contemporary portraiture, allowing for experimentation with different materials, techniques and artistic styles. This course was very successfully run on a Thursday morning at Kumeu Arts Centre and now we're looking at extending the reach by providing the option for one off and consecutive workshops in the weekend.
Local ceramic artist Lily Weeds worked with us to develop her Handcrafted Ceramics workshop on Tuesday evenings, at Kumeu Arts Centre. This course is very popular and fills up every term and we have plans for Lily to also provide workshops of a similar nature to teens and to run some short courses in the weekend.
So bottom line is this!
Any artists out there who want to work with the community, who love the idea of working with children, teens or adults alongside their artistic practice and would like to work with Creative Matters, please get in touch and let's see if we can make it happen! And anone who would love to participate in a workshop with an artist, keep an eye on our website for updates www.creativematters.co.nz/
Mandy Jakich email@example.com
Well, we did it! Our mural is up in place at the Muriwai Skatepark and it looks superb! A lot of hard work and perseverance from our wonderful local teens: Isla, Ella, Jade, Renee, Ben, Indy, Izzy and Jaydah.
It's certainly been challenging, and the project took 2 terms instead of the predicted 1 term, and these guys all stayed both terms to see the project through. Talking to them about the process afterwards, they all agreed it was a worthwhile experience, they really enjoyed it, they felt stoked with the final result and felt proud of what they have achieved. Some admitted they were starting to 'get over it' (understandable!) and probably couldn't have continued any longer - yes, we were ready to finish. This was a great moment for me to add my pearls of wisdom :) We discussed that not everything we do is easy, sometimes you do tire of projects but the important thing is to hang in there and see the project through to the end without being negative (and then isn't that final feeling of satisfaction worth the effort!?), perseverance, loyalty and tenacity are important values which they all showed. Sermon over.
Personally, I always enjoy this workshop and I loved this project. I painted with the group and we had the best chats while we worked creatively together. I even copped a bit of flack sometimes, that's how comfortable we had become with each other (they named any little mistakes 'Mandys' which is sweet..I think?!). They even baked cookies and cupcakes to bring to class.
Again, this workshop is so great for encouraging this age group to talk and work together, to encourage each other, get creative, take risks, solve problems collaboratively, socialise in a non threatening, positive environment, and..oh yes...learn some art skills.
Thank you to everyone for all the positive feedback and for enjoying our mural so much, to George Jakich for helping us put the mural up and to DULUX for sponsoring us and providing the paint.