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 Collage of images of creative space recipients in the Arts Access Awards 2017

COMMUNITY AND INCLUSION: Pablos Art Studios received the Arts Access Creative Space Award 2017 from the Hon Nicky Wagner. Mix and Alpha Omega Theatre Company were Highly Commended.

Introducing creative spaces

Creative spaces are organisations and places where people can make art, or participate in artistic activities such as theatre, dance, circus, music, film and creative writing. They provide space, resources and assistance in ways that will lead to self-expression, empowerment and self-development.

There are many creative spaces in communities throughout New Zealand. Some encourage an informal, drop-in approach while others prefer a structured approach, with programmes and workshops in writing, visual and performing arts. Read more about the history of creative spaces 

Creative spaces are dynamic places, using a range of approaches to achieve similar outcomes. Read more about these approaches

For more information about creative spaces, contact Claire Noble, Community Development Co-ordinator, Arts Access Aotearoa (T: 04 802 4349 E:

News stories about your activities and artists

Arts Access Aotearoa can help you promote your creative space and reach a larger audience. We write news stories and post these on the website and, sometimes, on The Big Idea, Creative New Zealand, Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and Scoop websites. We also promote these stories on Facebook and Twitter. Please email Iona with your newsworthy stories and artists. Also let us know if you want to be listed in the creative spaces directory and have any useful tips, resources, opportunities and events to share. 

Latest news, events, opportunities and tips

Creative approach to mental health underfunded

Gary PickeringŌtautahi Creative Spaces was set up in response to the earthquakes in Christchurch, where there had been a huge increase in demand for mental health services. In an article in The Press, Manager Kim Morton said creative programmes were cost-effective in comparison with clinical interventions, and a relatively small but consistent funding increase would allow the organisation to do much more. The organisation has received no funding from the Canterbury District Health Board. Its general manager planning, funding and decision support Carolyn Gullery said the district health board supported and agreed with research showing art therapy was beneficial for mental health. "However, within the constraints of the  mental health budget, the CDHB needs to prioritise funding to the required clinical services, therefore is unable to provide funding to the Ōtautahi Creative space for the work they do." Read the article

Support Māpura Studios’ Stroke Art Therapy programme

Musician Chris KnoxStroke can affect anyone at any age, at any time, with devastating effects. Well-known musician Chris Knox, who had a stroke, is championing Māpura Studios’ appeal for funding to support people affected by stroke. Māpura Studios offers an intensive 12-week Stroke Art Therapy course at no cost to participants. Many have benefited from this life-changing course and have gone on to reclaim their lives. Some further develop their new-found skills in the Arts Transition and Leading a Creative Life classes, and find a new identity as artists. With no direct government funding, Māpura Studios relies on the generosity of donors, philanthropic trusts and fundraising to provide programmes such as this and to subsidise class fees for the other 15 programmes it provides to more than 175 children, teens and adults with diverse and often complex disabilities who attend each week.

For more information about Māpura Studios and its the Stroke Art Therapy programme, visit the Māpura Studios website, call 09 845 5361 or email To discuss payroll giving, sponsorship, or making a bequest to support Māpura Studios' work, contact Jenny Hutchings (E: T: 0274 058 260). 

Exult's sustainable funding workshop on DVD

Exult's popular one-day sustainable funding workshop is available on DVD so you can watch it in your own place when it best suits you and your team. It’s full of practical ideas for raising more funds more often and developing action steps for increasing your fundraising revenue. There’s no fluff, no jargon – just real ideas that will work for you. It costs $95 + $6.50 p & p, incl. GST. You can order via email or order online.

Become part of an online community

Creative spaces are invited to become a part of Flightdec community websites, where relevant content (news, events, blogs, images, resources) can be shared to other sites instantly and on a daily basis. Flightdec provides a free template/framework containing a lot of built-in tools. That means the basic structure is pre-set but you determine your own menu headings and content, images, colours, logos and branding. The only cost is a monthly subscription fee of $25, plus GST, to Flightdec to host the website and provide a basic email and phone-in help desk. For more information, please email Iona McNaughton, Arts Access Aotearoa or call 04 802 4349.

Creative Communities Scheme funding 

A Jolt Dance performanceDance and theatre workshops for young people with learning disability, the creation of a mural with a professional graffiti artist for youth at risk, and audio description for blind people of a Shakespeare play are among the projects supported over the past year with funding though the Creative Communities Scheme. Every year, the scheme supports approximately 1800 community arts projects throughout New Zealand with $3.1 million of Creative New Zealand’s funding. Read more 

International examples of access to the arts

This page provides links to research and articles about arts and community development, accessible arts practice, and arts in Corrections. Read more



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