Kia ora koutou. At Arts Access Aotearoa, we are very aware of the developing impact of COVID-19, particularly for our stakeholders and members, associates and friends.
We are following the official Ministry of Health guidelines for personal and community health, and containment of the virus. Please visit its website for the official information to help you with your actions and what to say to others.
Support and continuity
We recognise that in the communities we advocate for there are people who will experience anxiety due to change and uncertainty. There is a need to support staff and artists in creative spaces and associated access groups to provide factual information about what we can all do, especially around personal hygiene and social distancing.
Vincents Art Workshop has provided a helpful example of how to communicate with your members and artists. Its Facebook message reads: “Because of the Covid 19 virus, Vincents Art Workshop is taking every care possible to minimise any spread of infection. We will ask all people coming to our venue whether they have recently been in another country and whether they have any signs of illness. If either of these are the case, they will be advised that they will need to stay away from our organisation and will be told that they cannot return until they are well and symptom-free. All people in our venue will be reminded to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly, to sneeze into their elbow, and not to make physical contact with other people. We will update these procedures in line with advice from the Ministry of Health. We advise people who cannot attend our organisation that to maintain good mental wellbeing you can call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor for free.”
Arts Access Aotearoa is postponing its networks and community meetings until 30 April 2020 when we will review the situation. However, we are open for business and here to take your calls and enquiries.
Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards
The nomination process is under way and nominations close Monday 6 April. We are looking forward to receiving your nominations. You can download the nomination forms from our website or call us for more information.
The ongoing value of the arts
This is a time when we have been reflecting (even more than usual) on the value of the arts to health and wellbeing. Participation in and access to the arts helps community connection and personal wellbeing. The arts provide opportunities for expressing (or calming) concerns as well as presenting positive themes.
Working together in creative settings is still possible: let’s just be mindful of personal hygiene and the need for thoughtfulness. We also shout out to the members of the Arts For All Network who have experienced the cancellation or uncertainty of planned events and the impact on their employment. Several events that included great accessibility features have had to be cancelled. We are very proud of their example nevertheless.
Kia kaha, kia marino i te wa e whakaae ana i ngā wero. Be strong and calm while accepting the challenge.