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Oriental Bay Rotunda - Capital's Creation Station

Oriental Bay Rotunda - Capital's Creation Station

If you're looking to be creative in the Capital, then the Wellington Arts Centre - based in the Oriental Bay Rotunda - is the place to go. The Council-run facility (including an art studio, darkroom and function room) offers a wonderful array of courses, events, club meetings, and activities designed to foster a more creative community.

"The Arts Centre strives to programme a diverse range of creative opportunities for our community," says Wellington City Council Arts Co-ordinator Eric Holowacz. "The Council tries to offer something for everyone, from a two-year-old music lover right up to the most skilful painters and artists."

Mayor Kerry Prendergast enthusiastically supports the Arts Centre. "Being the Creative Capital doesn't just mean having a world-class Arts Festival or a thriving gallery scene. It also means providing a way for citizens to be creative themselves, to paint landscapes, learn how to write poetry, dance with their daughters, or discover a song within..."

Upcoming courses range from beginner to advanced painting, vocal technique and performance, art history and abstract expressionism, and even Japanese book-binding and print-making.

"The Arts Centre's mission, and its role in the community, is to provide easy and comfortable opportunities for people to explore their creative side," says long-time visual art instructor Stephanie Woodman. "The offerings are diverse, the hours are often flexible, and the fees are kept low so you don't have to spend a fortune to learn about painting on canvas, book-making, or sketching techniques."

Also slated for the next term at the Arts Centre, which begins in May, are Tuesday morning and Thursday evening yoga, weekly Feldenkrais body care opportunities, casual or tutored life drawing sessions, and Friday morning line dancing. Also, an increasing number of parents and little ones have been joining the weekly Musical Tots, one of several offered in and around Wellington.

"The Arts Centre is great," says early childhood music instructor Felicity Giltrap. "We've built a solid reputation as a unique place to share music with your children, to help them explore movement and dance, and to expose them to different types of creativity."

Besides the term courses, and the weekly activities, there are dozens of monthly events and evening meetings for people looking to discover a creative spark. Ongoing gatherings, many of which are open to new participants and interested people, include yarn-spinning with the Wellington Storytellers' Café, educational opportunities by the Wellington Photographic Society, and down-home concerts with the Wellington Folk Club.

"The Photographic Society welcomes new people to our bi-monthly meetings, and there are also a wide range of workshops and outings to participate in throughout the year", said organisation president Jenny Dey. "And the Arts Centre darkroom is a good resource for anyone interested in the printing side of photography...from beginner to expert".

The historic Oriental Bay Rotunda is a pleasant 15-minute walk from Civic Square and Cuba Mall. "It's a small old building, but a very inspiring place," says Holowacz. "The Rotunda has become a buzzing, swarming hive of local creativity, art exploration, and expression - so much so that people have begun calling it Wellington's Creation Station."

The Arts Centre is also home to the Council's Community Arts Office, which provides services, grants advice and support to anyone involved in making our communities more creative. For example, Holowacz advises everyone from up and coming Fringe productions and school mural projects to principal violinists and well-established cultural organisations.

If you or your creative projects would like assistance, or to request a complete schedule of courses and activities, simply contact Eric Holowacz, Community Arts Co-ordinator, on 385-1929 or Arts@wcc.govt.nz

Another great resource for those looking for creative opportunities and events in Wellington is the Council's monthly Feeling Great brochures or their constantly updated website. Visit www.feelingreat.co.nz and make your mark on the creative capital.

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