You might not know it, but you are an artist

The sentence “I am not an artist” is always false

Everyone is an artist, and Te Manawa has long been dedicated to helping you realise that you, yes you, do indeed have artistic bones in your body. Your kids have been coming to our art classes for years, but now there’s a new Saturday morning class just for adults. It’s a place to test your creative potential in a friendly, social environment where inspirational tea and coffee is close to hand.

“Our art room is like a big playground filled with materials,” says Anne Gordon, Te Manawa’s art teacher.

She’s planning to cover many different types of art; some weeks she will expand on ideas that come up during the kids’ classes, while in others you might be looking at traditional techniques through the lens of our exhibitions. The pointillistic Mona Lisa in Toioho XX is a great example.

Don’t let the mention of the Mona Lisa put you off! Most likely you won’t be painting the Sistine Chapel on your first go, but if you’re not afraid to try colouring outside the lines, who knows what you’ll come up with?

There’s really only one way to find out.

If you’re still in doubt, let’s take a closer look at a piece of artwork owned by Te Manawa’s chief executive, Andy Lowe: a Ukulele Festival sculpture. It sits completed on the workbench the night before the exhibition.

“My goodness!” you exclaim. “I could never make anything like that!”

Well, let’s break it down.

The house is made from card, foamcore and balsawood, found at the Arts Recycling Centre or just lying around the house. The flagstones? Old Weetbix packet. The trees? Eucalyptus sticks from the park and slices of coconut-fibre basket liner. Local model shops had the more unusual stuff – the grasses and plants – all quite cheap.

With respect to the skills involved, being able to cut a straight line with a craft knife was the most strenuous requirement. See? A house of your own is as good as built.

While Anne’s classes will tend mostly toward the two-dimensional, the principle remains the same. With a background as a primary school teacher and hobby art projects ranging from mosaics and watercolours to photography, Anne is ideally placed to help you ignite that creative spark.

“You don’t have to be a McCahon or a Hodgkins to create something to be proud of,” says Anne. “I make it easy for people to do that.”