Arts Access Aotearoa

Creative Spaces Mentor Programme

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Art tutors and managers of community art studios open to disabled artists need professional development. All around New Zealand, these studios, known as creative spaces, are providing opportunities for people to create art in a supportive, safe and learning environment. This includes the one in four people in New Zealand living with a disability. Creative spaces make a huge difference in their communities, building the artistic and life skills of their artists. We will support creative spaces, their staff and artists through this Mentor Programme.

What is Arts Access Aotearoa going to do?

Times are tough and we want to make sure creative spaces are able to keep providing quality arts opportunities for their artists through our Mentor Programme. Voluntary mentors from the community, business and arts sectors will grow the skills of the next generation of creative space leaders. We provided a pilot in 2013/2014 that was so successful it was a no-brainer to offer it again to five more emerging leaders. Check out this quote to see why this mentor project is so important:

"Thank you so much for the opportunity. The feeling of support and opportunity I received from this project was phenomenal and has reinforced my determination to make this my vocation."

So how does the Mentoring Programme work?

Arts Access Aotearoa carefully matches voluntary mentors from the community, public and private sectors with emerging leaders from creative spaces. Participants are guided by mentors on varied topics such as such as financial planning, fundraising, HR practice and business development - even how best to organise art exhibitions.

Mentors and mentees participate in a professional training programme with the New Zealand Coaching and Mentoring Centre and their mentoring relationship continues for a year or more. As an added bonus, this project also trains 12 mentors who will continue to make a difference in their communities.

Why should you support this project?

We think the Creative Spaces Mentoring Programme is a win-win for everyone and we want to invite you to be part of it!

Your generous donations to Art Access Aotearoa's Boosted campaign will be used to cover the costs of travel for the mentors and for the project co-ordinator to attend the orientation and training day. The mentors are volunteering their time and expertise and we want to get them there.

The 2014/2015 Creative Spaces Mentoring Programme starts on 28 August in Auckland.

What is Arts Access Aotearoa?

Arts Access Aotearoa is a national charitable trust that supports arts organisations and venues to increase their accessibility; builds the capability and leadership skills of grassroots community organisations providing artistic opportunities to disabled people; raises public awareness about access to the arts; and provides a national information service. It is also the key organisation in New Zealand advocating for the arts to be used as a rehabilitation tool for prisoners.

Arts Access Aotearoa's key stakeholders are people with physical, sensory or intellectual impairments; individuals and organisations in the community and professional arts sectors; and people with lived experience of mental illness. Arts Access Aotearoa makes a difference in the lives of many of the 1.1 million people in New Zealand who experience disability.

Photo credits: Ranfurly Care, Dudley Art House.


  • The training day!


    As a result of your amazing support for the Creative Spaces Mentor Programme, last week mentors and emerging leaders from creative spaces around New Zealand had the opportunity to meet one another and receive training from the New Zealand Coaching and Mentoring Centre.

    It was a hugely successful day to start off the programme and we thought we would share with you an article which includes some great pictures from the day: 

    Thank you!

    The team at Arts Access Aotearoa



  • 103%! Thank you!


    Kia ora amazing supporters

    We would like to say a huge thank you to the fantastic 44 people that donated to support the Creative Spaces Mentor Programme! Not only did you get us over the line, but thanks to you we even exceeded our target raising $3,105 to support creative space leadership.

    Today was the training day your generous donations made possible. Skilled leaders from around New Zealand travelled to Auckland where they met the emerging leaders from creative spaces they will be mentoring and supporting over the next 12 months. Today both mentors and mentees also received training from the NZ Coaching and Mentoring Centre and they visited several leading creative spaces in Auckland. It was a big day made possible with your support!

    If you would like to keep up to date with the Creative Spaces Mentor Programme and Arts Access Aotearoa’s work increasing access to the arts you can sign up to our e-newsletter at You can also follow Arts Access Aotearoa on Facebook ( and Twitter (

    Thank you again for your incredible support for creative space leadership!

    The Team at Arts Access Aotearoa

  • The final countdown!


    Kia ora koutou

    With just two days left to reach our target (just 22% to go!), we're really humbled by the support that you have shown creative spaces around New Zealand by donating to support this programme. A huge thank you from the Board and the staff of Arts Access Aotearoa for your support! 

    We're not just counting down to the last day of our Boosted campaign, the Creative Spaces Mentor Programme for 2014/2015 starts in just three days! Our Community Development Co-ordinator, Claire, is making the final arrangements right now. 

    The programme will be starting with a training session with the New Zealand Coaching and Mentoring Centre in Auckland. This training is for the Mentees from creative spaces around New Zealand and the Mentors who you've supported to participate in the programme. Thank you! We are really looking forward to meeting all of the programme participants and finding out what who is going to be a good mentoring match. Once the 12-month programme gets underway, it's really exciting to see these emerging leaders grow and develop.

    At 78% towards our goal, we need your help to get over the line. Any help you can give us by donating or spreading the word makes such a difference. 

    Thanks again for your amazing support! 

    The team at Arts Access Aotearoa

    P.s. We thought we'd leave you with a photo from the training day of the 2013/2014 Creative Spaces Mentor Programme. 

    The final countdown!
  • 20% and counting!


    The Arts Access Aotearoa team is excited to reach 20% of our target! The generous donations made by the 16 fantastic people who have supported creative spaces leaders so far are really appreciated. Thank you! 

    Just as we reach the 20% mark, we're also looking through the applications from the volunteer mentors and the mentees who want to be part of the programme. Our team is thrilled that the calibre of the applications for the volunteer mentors are really high. Lets get them all to the training!

    Our team is also pleased that it looks like we can also include more mentees than initially thought in the programme. This is fantastic news for the 8 emerging leaders and the more than 400 people that create art at their creative spaces!

    We have a way to go, but it really is great to have your support. If you can keep spreading the word about the Creative Spaces Mentor Programme and our Boosted campaign, we'd really appreciate that. 

    Thanks again! 

    The team at Arts Access Aotearoa

  • Thank you!


    Kia ora fantastic supporters of creative space leadership! 

    We have reached 13% towards our goal to support the creative spaces mentor programme so far. Thank you for your generous support that has helped us to get the ball rolling. It is very humbling to have people believe in and support this important work! 

    Today we uploaded a brand new video where our Executive Director, Richard Benge, tells you more about the Creative Spaces Mentoring programme and what your support means:

    With 21 days to go, please please help us out by passing information about our Boosted Campaign on to any one you think might be willing to help us get to our final target. 

    Thanks again!

    The team at Arts Access Aotearoa