From the Executive Director

By Richard Benge
All around us for the past month and more, there’s been a buzz of activity leading up to the Original Voices exhibition opening at 2pm on Sunday 9 September at Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures in Porirua. Everyone is invited to the opening so if you are nearby please come.

Curator Stuart Shepherd and Pippa Sanderson, Arts Access AotearoaThis exhibition of work from creative space artists includes an artists’ talk on 13 September (1.30pm to 2.30pm), and a curators’ talk and panel discussion, moderated by art critic Mark Amery, on 16 September (2pm to 4pm). The exhibition close on Sunday 23 September.

Arts Access Aotearoa works with creative spaces to provide professional development, advocacy and promotion, information-sharing and artistic opportunities. So Original Voices provides a platform for us to promote creative space artists to a national audience in an inclusive way. For example, curator Stuart Shepherd was interviewed on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme this week, and highlighted the work of artist Phillipa Aubrey from Sandz Studio in Hamilton and other artists.

Included with the exhibition is an excellent catalogue showing a selection of the 60 installed works. Even though it was not possible to have all the submitted works (nearly 300) displayed on the walls, every work is included in a digital presentation in the gallery.

Arts For All activities

Another important part of our work as a service organisation is to provide a national information service about access to and participation in the arts, and promote best practice. This is a pleasure to do when we have great projects such as the New Zealand String Quartet’s webcasts to talk about. If you can’t get to the concert in person and have access to a computer, you can see and hear the New Zealand String Quartet’s latest offering of Beethoven’s Late Quartets on 7 and 8 September via a live webcast from St Mary of the Angels Church in Wellington. You will be able to access the webcast on the NZSQ’s website on Friday.

We can also let you know of some great accessible theatre and opera events. Fortune Theatre, which is part of the newly formed Arts for All Otago network promoting accessibility in Otago, presents an audio described performance of Heroes on Sunday 9 September (touch tour at 2.30pm and a 4pm performance) and then a signed performance of Heroes at 6pm on 11 September. 

Through THE EDGE’s SIGNAL programme, NBR New Zealand Opera has two audio described performances of The Bartered Bride: at 7.30pm on 27 September in Auckland and 7.30pm on 20 October in Wellington. For more information, call on 0800 NZ OPERA or visit the opera company’s website

NBR New Zealand Opera and New Zealand String Quartet are part of the Wellington Arts for All Network of arts organisations promoting accessibility in Wellington. Thanks to NZSQ, Fortune Theatre, NBR New Zealand Opera and THE EDGE for going the extra mile to make the arts accessible.

Whether you visit Pataka and see the “Original Voices” exhibition or use technology to gain better access to the performances I’ve talked about in this column, please let us know about your experience. We appreciate you sharing ideas and comments about arts and accessibility anywhere in Aotearoa so send us an email or comment on our Facebook page.



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