A team of amazing people and I are undertaking a project called The Waipa Creative Conduit with Enrich+. This is quite a big project and has a few different elements to it. In my very first blog post I want to give you (hopefully) an exhaustive guide to the what, why and how of this project.
The key thing to remember about this project is that we are keen for you to be involved. Everyone is welcome and pop in to talk to us in the gallery about how you can be a part of the project.
Quick intro to me – Alex Wilkinson
I am a ceramic artist that is based in Kihikihi. I run a beautiful business called Mystery Creek Ceramics that specialises in very bright functional ceramics. I am passionate about helping people build sustainable careers in the creative sector. I very clearly remember dropping art about halfway through high school for the more ‘serious’ subjects and want to make sure in the future creative careers are considered as ‘seriously’ as other careers.
Part of my goal with this project is to inspire and help people to understand that creative careers can be economically sustainable and that support and willingness is out there to create this for yourself as I have.
This project was born out of a desire to connect the flourishing creative community in the Waipa region. We have lots of amazing artists and creative people that operate from places that don’t look like art studios. They create amazing work, teach incredible workshops and we think that if we all get together, we can find strength, community, and abundance in collaboration.
Early in the planning stages of this project we were introduced to Enrich+ and the amazing work they do with the disability community especially through the arts. Very quickly we realised that they are trying to achieve the same goals ‘create community’ and so they hopped on board. Without their help and generosity this project would have never got off the ground so big thank you to Enrich+.
The project itself has three main parts.
The community gallery at the Enrich+ building 48 Teasdale Street Te Awamutu. This gallery is a place for us to display, celebrate and advocate for local artists. All work is for sale through this gallery with only a 10% commission. This means 90% of all proceeds of every artwork sale goes to the artist and only 10% to the running costs of the gallery. It’s very important to us that artists receive as much return from their artwork as possible. This is not always possible for galleries to do but we are lucky in that this project has an amazing sponsor (more about that later).
It is also important for us to show the community where they can go to support our local artists. We would love you to come in and celebrate local artists' work with us. We have something for every price bracket and something for everyone from painting to pottery to earrings.
The gallery being in the Enrich+ building also offers the community a new connection to Enrich+ and the amazing work they do.
Feel free to come by the gallery to purchase local artwork, support local artists and connect with the work Enrich+ does.
The community art teaching space
This is a place for you to try something new, embrace your own creativity, get yourself out of your comfort zone or learn something specialist for your artform. It is in the same location as the gallery. Teaching is a great way for creative people to supplement their income and we wanted creative people to do just that. It can be difficult when you are starting out in teaching art, it can be intimidating to attend a creative class for the first time and often it all ends up in the ‘too hard’ basket.
This community teaching space looks to fill that need. We offer any creative person an opportunity to teach. We can support you through the process if you are new to teaching. Get your class out to a different network if you have your class plan ready to go and are just offering to take the ‘administrative load’ of organising and booking classes for everyone.
We think that teaching creative classes of all forms benefits from being a collaborative effort as we can reach more people and more clients with bigger networks. We want creative people to earn a sustainable income and teaching can be a way to supplement that. We pay $50 per hour for all classes to ensure creative people are getting good compensation for their mahi and course costs are limited to the tutors time and material so maintain more accessibility than other options.
The Panel Discussions
Every second week we will be having a panel discussion for koha entry. This is a forum for creative people to make connections, hear about other people’s practices, collaborate and brainstorm.
The first panel discussion is being held on Wednesday the 5th of April at 6pm. In this discussion we will get up to tell you all about this project and how you can be involved. We would love it if we could also discuss how we can benefit from collaboration as creative people and look into what the next project looks like to engage with creativity in the Waipa.
These panel discussions are still being organised and we are open to hearing about what you would like to listen to, discuss and learn.
This project is supported by Enrich+ and The Waipa Creative Community Scheme. The only reason we can do this project is a chunk of funding from the scheme. The funding covers all the overhead costs that setting this project up and the staff required to maintain it.
Our gallery manager is Rebecca Dowman-Ngapo. She has come on board this project, administrative skills blazing and with a passion that burns brighter than the sun. Come and see her in the gallery and introduce yourself on April the 1st 10am – 1pm.
Big thank you as well to Dean Mcleod. Hopefully you are reading this on our new website woop woop! This has been sponsored by Dean and simply wouldn’t have happened without him. Thank you.
I hope you have learnt something from this essay. Either about me, the project, what we are trying to achieve or the incredible support behind it to make it happen. Come introduce yourself and help us build an incredible community together.
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