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Celebrating Creative Spaces Week

Arts Access Aotearoa and a network of creative spaces throughout New Zealand will celebrate Creative Spaces Week 2020 from Monday 17 February to Sunday 23 February, aiming to increase public awareness about their value to people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Minister Carmel Sepuloni, Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage and Minister for Disability Issues, will highlight Creative Spaces Week 2020 when she visits Dunedin on the weekend of 15 and 16 February.

The Minister will meet friends of the Dunedin Fringe Festival at an informal morning tea on Sunday and will also visit Artsenta and Studio2, two creative spaces with work in the Fringe programme.

“Creative spaces are such an important part of building our arts communities and supporting people’s broader wellbeing,” Minister Sepuloni says. “It’s a privilege to be able to join Arts Access Aotearoa in celebrating the impact that accessible and inclusive creative spaces provide. I am looking forward to seeing some of the great work being carried out in Dunedin this weekend.”

There are more than 70 creative spaces in communities throughout New Zealand providing artistic opportunities to make and engage in the arts for people who often face barriers to participation.
Findings from research commissioned by Minister Sepuloni and conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage in late 2018 show the benefits of creative spaces in building resilient, connected communities.

They also promote mental health and wellbeing by providing social interaction; increased creative expression and communication skills; and a sense of belonging. In addition, they build greater confidence and self-esteem among their artists.

Jenny Hutchings says that in her role as Creative Spaces Advisor at Arts Access Aotearoa she is constantly seeing and hearing about arts projects and programmes that illustrate the significant benefits of arts participation to people’s wellbeing.

“Creative Spaces Week 2020 is about celebrating these wonderful places that connect us to our communities, and nourish our creativity and confidence,” she says.

“The Week also aims to increase public awareness about the value of creative spaces and their huge potential to address mental health and wellbeing issues around New Zealand.”

However, Jenny says, creative spaces need adequate, consistent and sustainable investment to achieve this potential and meet the demand for their services.

Throughout Creative Spaces Week 2020, Arts Access Aotearoa and creative spaces will be using online tools such as their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to promote the value of the work they do, using the hashtag #CreativeSpacesWeek.

“We hope this event will strengthen the collective voice of creative spaces, and increase public and funder awareness about the community-enriching work they deliver every day,” Jenny says.

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