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$11,500 in arts mini grants approved

Students at theatre wananga. Supplied photos.

Seven new arts initiatives in the Western Bay of Plenty have received a boost in funding thanks to a collaborative fund established by Creative Bay of Plenty and TECT.

The Western Bay of Plenty Arts Mini Grants was established to support the resilience of the local creative sector and increase vibrancy over the summer period by funding creative ideas and cultural celebrations with rapid turnaround mini grants.

The $11,500 in funding approved last week will support a range of creative initiatives, including exhibitions, workshops, performance poetry, and a theatre-based wellbeing wananga for rangatahi.

One of the successful recipients of an Arts Mini Grant is Robert Westaway, who received $2,000 towards an art exhibition to be held in March.

The exhibition aims to promote wellbeing through the healing process for cancer sufferers and survivors, with individuals experiencing painting for themselves and viewing works by others.

Robert says the Arts Mini Grant will allow those who are going through or have experienced cancer treatment the hands-on opportunity to explore and express difficult thoughts and feelings they are experiencing day-to-day.

"It's exploring, healing and relief in the forum of Art Therapy. As one that has secondary cancer and a Masters Degree in Art, I truly believe in the benefits and healing power that will open doors for those who choose to explore this avenue.

"The exhibition of my works, which I created during my own treatment during the lockdown at Daffodil House in Christchurch, will allow them to see with their own eyes the word 'Cancer' doesn't mean giving up.

"So hand in hand with Creative BOP & TECT Arts Mini Grants will enable a dream of mine to become a reality, bringing healing to other Cancer Warriors."

Another successful recipient of a $2000 grant is Carolynn Tepou and Leiona Tupou, who are holding a one-day workshop for Pasifika creatives to enable them to connect with other Pasifika artists and build a community. 

The sessions will include both traditional and contemporary Pasifika artforms.

Carolynn says the idea for the workshop came about through a longing to connect with the local Pasifika community.

"Being Polynesian myself a New Zealand born Niuean, it's important to me to meet with the wider Pacific community to encourage them to come out to a safe space where we can encourage & connect with one another.

"We carry skills from mark-making to sewing, visual art, poetry, music, performance and so much more, our coming together with our gifts and talents will enhance our space and empower our community that we can keep adding to this melting pot of Aotearoa with our creative minds, hands, hearts and our stories of experience and our history with our artmaking.

"The approved funding is an opportunity to kick start the vision and mission of a Pasifika Art Space for the community. Thank you to Creative Bay of Plenty and TECT for the opportunity for me and my team to bring our love and passion for creative art to life in our community. We are truly grateful."

Creative Bay of Plenty General Manger Eric Holowacz says "we received a flood of wonderful creative projects, filled with diversity and community spirit. Our partnership with TECT, and every cultural project we are able to fund, will help make the community more interesting and expressive throughout the summer. Bring on the exhibitions, workshops, live music, new theatre, and creative activities for kids and families!"

TECT General Manager Wayne Werder says it is great to see so many creative projects happening in our region.

"We are so lucky to be a part of a community brimming with creativity and a passion to share that with others – bringing with it much joy, inspiration, and connection. We're delighted this partnership with Creative Bay of Plenty is allowing us to have greater impact with our funding in the arts space. Congratulations to all the successful grant recipients."

Creative Bay of Plenty and TECT will be announcing the successful recipients of the second round of funding in the new year.

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