Community courses

By: Julia Parfitt

The year is almost at a close and Christmas will soon be upon us. Like me I am sure many of you can’t wait for a quieter and more reflective time in the New Year. Maybe it is time to shape a New Year’s resolution or two?

In my last column for the year, I will focus on one of our thriving community hubs - the Estuary Arts Centre (EAC), and also remind you about several local board sponsored activities you might enjoy.

When our local board came into existence in 2010, EAC was already established but finding it a struggle to meet the needs of a growing area. A 360-degree study commissioned by the local board highlighted that to succeed would require a stronger governance model and an educational wing that could offer art classes and further exhibition space and a steady and financially sustainable income stream.

Recently the centre’s trustees and manager shared their new strategic vision and long term plan with our local board. It was a chance for board members Janet Fitzgerald, Caitlin Watson and I to ask questions and discuss how we could help them achieve their goals.

Already the centre is delivering amazing things. Since their education wing was built in 2016, visitor numbers have almost tripled and they now host over 60,000 visitors annually with over 3000 active class participants and 70 volunteers. Not keen to rest on these laurels, the trust members and manager Kim Boyd are seeking to offer more diverse programmes and exhibitions and work with providers at other locations within our Hibiscus community.

In 2019 the centre will offer a range of programmes for adults and children. For those who would like to just try their hand, every Friday you can drop in and paint, pot, sew, print or draw and enjoy the company of fellow artists of all abilities. If you are interested in taking an art class next year, why not call in between 3pm-5pm on February 2 and meet the tutors at ‘The Art of Teaching tutor show?’ Here is your opportunity to talk to the tutors and find an art course that suits you. There are also free ‘have a go taster’ sessions planned.
There are also several local board sponsored free activities you might enjoy and find challenging in the New Year include Genres and Generation Sharing writing workshops from February 2-16 at the Orewa Community Centre (HM December 1). Geared for writers between 15 -25 years and over 55 years they will explore themes and perspectives from across the generational divide.

Fancy honing those snorkeling skills? Bring family and friends to the Shakespear Snorkel Day on February 17 between 10am and 3pm. You can bring your own gear or gear will be provided. This event is part of Sea Week and sponsored by the Bobby Stafford-Bush Foundation and your local board.

To look up these and other events, visit the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board page on Facebook.

Finally on behalf of the local board I would like to wish you and your family a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Let’s hope that 2019 is even more challenging and rewarding than this year has been.

Our local board office will close on Friday December 21 at 12pm and opens again on  Monday, January 7 at 8.30am.

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