Making art inspires, nurtures and guides Timaru youth

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22 May 2018

Some 30 young people from the Timaru community tried their hand at print-making and 3D art making this week in the first of a series of innovative workshops at Ara’s Timaru Campus.

Ara is supporting the VOICE Youth Art Project to broaden the range of art workshops available to young people from non-mainstream education programmes with YMCA South & Mid Canterbury, Community College South Canterbury, Teen Parent Unit and Aoraki Alternative Education.

The project has been running for eight years and provides multiple benefits for participants, the YMCA’s Team Leader Youth and Education Angela Burgess said. “The project allows our students to experiment, it allows them to succeed at something and it allows them to express themselves.”

“Then as their skills develop it boosts their self-esteem, which can also develop into exploring career choices. Hands-on learning for our students is really valuable; it is for all students really.”

Ara’s involvement offers the project a broader range of art practice, moving from painting to printmaking, 3D, photography and graphic arts. “We don’t have the facilities, so to deliver this broad a range of arts with the quality of the Ara tutors to assist the students, it is just brilliant,” Angela said.

Alongside the intrinsic benefits of making art, the project also breaks down barriers to tertiary education by familiarising students with the Ara campus and tutors. Simply being on campus can nurture new educational pathways for the participants.

“That’s a big step for the students, to actually experience other environments, realise it is not as scary as they imagined and to then picture themselves in that environment. The transition phrase and creating the students’ leaving plans is very important.”

Students enjoyed the first workshop on Monday 14 May, Angela said. They now have the opportunity to continue expanding their perceptions and experience with another five weekly workshops. The artworks they produce will be shown at an exhibition on 19-22 June at Timaru District Council Chambers, which is another exciting outcome of the project for the students and for the community. Awards, including some cash prizes, will be made in a variety of categories.

VOICE is organised and delivered by YMCA South & Mid Canterbury and WAVE (a health education partnership), and primarily funded through Creative Communities. Art materials are provided through funding and Ara contributed the facilities and tutors. The VOICE ART Project, Competition & Exhibition is open to anyone 12-24 years old in South Canterbury.

Ara has worked with VOICE and YMCA before, but a new agreement will formalise the partnership and explore further opportunities.

New Zealand certificates and diplomas in design in Timaru are now open for semester 2 enrolments – see for more information.

Read the story by the Timaru Herald/Stuff