Art centre credited for therapeutic work
An arts centre dedicated to helping those with disabilities participate in creative endeavours has been honoured.
Spark Centre, a creative space in St Lukes, was last night presented with Arts Access Aotearoa’s Big ‘A’ Creative Space Award 2013 at a ceremony in Wellington.
This year the Spark Centre is offering 12 art programmes for people of all ages and with diverse disability and impairment. This includes people with cerebral palsy, the effects of strokes, brain injury, deafness, impaired vision, autism and intellectual disability.
The programmes provide learning in art education, art practice and art therapy. The centre offers a sense of community and promotes self-development through the vehicle of creative expression.
Judges describe Spark Centre as ‘‘an innovative, inclusive creative space, which transformed itself to respond to the diverse needs of its community. As well as developing valuable partnerships and programmes, it also presents or participates in a series of exhibitions throughout the year.’’
Spark Centre director Suzanne Vesty says its extensive exhibition calendar also provides artists with the opportunity to present their work to the wider community.
‘‘For the artists, the goal of exhibiting their work provides them with motiv- ation, meaning and pose,’’ she says.
‘‘Staff here are committed and passionate art enthusiasts. They are skilful,
pur- experienced and qualified in what they do.
‘‘We all take great delight in witnessing the growth of people who attend our clas- ses, both as individuals and as artists.
‘‘Receiving the Big ‘A’ Creative Spaces Award is an acknowledgement of both the staff and our artists.’’
Those who use the centre say it provides a wonderful outlet and a break from some of the daily trials of life.
Auckland artist Pearl Schomburg, diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 23 years ago, say it offers more than art therapy. It has given structure to her life, an outlet for her emotions and creativity, and a place to interact with like-minded people.
She is one of around 125 artists who participate in the art programmes offered.
‘‘For every class, the artists come through the door with big smiles on their faces. For some people, including me, it’s the highlight of their week,’’ she says.
Adjusting to living with chronic pain was very difficult for Pearl and she eventually began exploring ways of expressing her frustrations. Three years ago she realised art was the release she had been searching for.
‘‘Nothing hurts when I do art,’’ she says.
Creative outlet: Helina Janiszewska works on her latest artwork at Spark Centre as the centre’s funding co-ordinator Donna Jaser watches on.