Space Suite launches conference
18 April 2016
By Andrea Moxham
An exhibition showcasing the work of creative space artists throughout New Zealand will open on 26 April at Alpha Gallery, launching Arts Access Aotearoa's two-day national conference in Wellington for creative spaces.
Rohana Weaver, Arts Facilitator and Community Support Worker at Alpha Art Studio, is organising Space Suite: Art from Creative Spaces across Aotearoa. It includes two pieces of artwork from each of 15 creative spaces from Dunedin through to Auckland.
“I hope people coming to Arts Access Aotearoa's conference will come to the exhibition and make the most of this opportunity to see the diversity of art being made in creative spaces,” Rohana says.
The exhibition includes art from Wellington region’s creative spaces Alpha Art Studio, Vincents Art Workshop, Pablos Art Studios, Mix and Arts on High Also exhibiting is Nelson’s Community Artworks; Te Roopu Taurima O Manukau Trust, SkillWise’s White Room and Otautahi Creative Space from Canterbury; Studio2/Margaret Freeman Gallery and Arts Space from Dunedin; Whanganui Creative Space; and Māpura Studios, Ranfurly Care Society and Toi Ora Live Arts Trust from Auckland.
Creating an opportunity
“This exhibition grew from a desire from our artists to see what’s happening among their peers in other parts of New Zealand,” Rohana says. “We're also aware that creative spaces don't have many opportunities to show nationally, so we wanted to create that opportunity.
“We’ve left it completely up to each space to decide who it chooses to represent their space. It will include a lot of framed works and Mix, a space in Hutt City, will be installing a collaborative work by all of their artists.”
Creative spaces are community arts organisations providing artistic opportunities for people with limited access to make art, and participate in music, dance, theatre and creative writing.
They provide space, resources and assistance in ways that will lead to self-expression, empowerment and self-development. Often, these spaces provide an opportunity for people who are experiencing mental ill health, or have a mental disability or sensory impairment, to create art in a supportive community setting.
Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa, commends Alpha Art Studio and its initiative in hosting Space Suite: Art from Creative Spaces across Aotearoa.
“Highlighting the achievements of artists who work from creative spaces is an ideal way to launch the conference,” he says.
Rohana's role at Alpha Art Studio is to support and guide people with intellectual disabilities and/or sensory impairments as they make art or participate in other activities such as New Zealand Sign Language classes, a community choir, and volunteering at the City Mission or for Meals on Wheels.
Rohana has been working with people with intellectual disabilities for four years and has been working at Alpha Art Studio for nearly two years.
“It can be challenging but the people are amazing and we have so much fun. There's so much joy and you never get bored. “It's beautiful to see people pushing their boundaries, blossoming and creating things, and really lighting their creative lights.”
Rohana says Alpha Art Studio couldn't exist without the funding and support of IDEA Services, which provides a range of services to people with intellectual disabilities throughout New Zealand.
Space Suite: Art from Creative Spaces across Aotearoa is open at Alpha Gallery, 55 Abel Smith St, Te Aro, Wellington until 13 May, 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday.