Ngā mihi maioha, our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to everyone who supported and participated in the inaugural 10 day Creative Manaaki Winter Series. With six exhibitions, a range of artist events, and sold out creative workshops for adults and children, the event brought people together after months of Covid disruption, providing whānau friendly creative opportunities for people to participate, discover, and enjoy a fun start to Winter.
Co-inciding with some of the worst weather ever seen on the Kāpiti Coast during a global pandemic, and with zero funding, the event overcame these challenges to attract residents and visitors seeking new creative experiences – with many already booked to return for more.
“When we returned to the Orange Covid setting, we wanted to put on an event before any chance of a return to Red and this meant not waiting to apply for and receive funding” says Jenna-Lea Philpott, founding director of Creative Manaaki. “We are humbled by the widespread community support, sponsored venues and promotion we received, which played a huge part in the success of the event. All the smiles and laughter made it worthwhile.”
The Winter Series featured six solo and group exhibitions in community galleries across the district, established as part of the Creative Manaaki Art for Everyone programme. A welcome return to hosting exhibition openings brought artists, businesses, residents and visitors together for the first time in 2022.
“I love the idea of bringing art to where the people are, and the Art for Everyone programme gives artists the opportunity to share their work in public spaces, as well as the possibility of reaching new customers and collectors” says curator Sandra Smillie. “I really enjoy meeting and getting to know the artists, finding out more about their art practice, their inspiration and the stories behind the work.”
Tornados and wild weather during the later half of the event demonstrated the value and resilience of creative tourism with workshops, exhibitions and artist events going ahead as planned. “There is something about the creative process that gives the mind a break from everyday life and the joy of making with friends is a rewarding experience” says ceramic sculpture artist and tutor, Storm Davenport. “Working with Creative Manaaki has helped me reach a new audience and has strengthened my creative practice so I’m delighted to have participated in the first Winter Series.”
“Creative skills can be learnt in a purpose designed environment such as an artist’s studio, however if we want to increase access and participation in creativity for social and wellbeing benefits as well, we also need to include a variety of venues and spaces where people are already comfortable” says Jenna. “Logistically, that is a lot harder and more expensive to manage, especially in the current environment where Covid is still having an impact, however, one of our goals is to diversify and increase our audience share. That means taking risks, partnering with others and being adaptable. Dare I say it, being creative!”
Massive thanks to all our exhibiting artists and art tutors, who shared their skills and studios, and to everyone who participated, including parents and children, who braved the weather!
And a round of applause to the team, Sandra Smillie, our curator for the Art for Everyone programme, Sarah Ferguson for marketing support, Anna Butterflied for web support and Karl Webber for poster photography.
Our thanks also to the following for venue sponsorship and promotional support: Kapiti Coast Chamber of Commerce, Raumati Village, Kāpiti Food Fair, Kiwibank Paraparaumu, Big Mac Slabs Furniture, GORGE, Robert Harris Coastlands, The Raumati Social Club, New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Wellington, the Manaaki electorate office of Terisa Ngobi – MP for Ōtaki and Barbara Edmonds MP, WellingtonNZ, Kāpiti Coast NZ, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Love Local – Kāpiti Coast, Paraparaumu Community Group, Kāpiti Kindness Trust, and all our local volunteer admins of community social media pages.
Mā te mahi tahi ka ora ai te iwi. By working together, we move forward.