Budding artists share skills with the community
A group of budding artists shared their skills with the Ashburton community last weekend, as they celebrated their first pop-up exhibition at the Ashburton Art Gallery.
The young artists are part of the Takiwātanga Ashburton for Kids with Autism (T.A.K.A) group, which hosts a weekly ‘Artism’ class where tamariki can come together to kōrero and create.
Celia Colcord, co-founder of T.A.K.A and team leader for Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow, said the idea for a support group came about when she noticed several of the requests for support she received through Mana Ake were for children who were diagnosed with autism, or who were going through the diagnoses process.
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects social and communication skills. The traits associated with autism span a wide spectrum and lead to a different way of seeing the world and interacting with others.
Celia said: “I set up an optional support group for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder and that developed into T.A.K.A, with the support of co-founder Marie Maeva. We noticed that a number of the children enjoyed art and from there a weekly art group, Artism, was established.”
Doubling as an opportunity for social learning, friendship building and group support, Artism meets every Monday at the He Waka Tapu office in Ashburton. Children in the group range from five to 16 years old.
“The meetings are a huge success because the children just understand and accept each other. While they’re focusing on art, we can also talk about friendships and provide some strategies around social interactions,” added Celia.
The exhibition held Saturday to Monday 13 – 15 March, was a resounding success. “Everyone loved seeing their work in the gallery and there was a real sense of unity among the group,” added Celia.
This isn’t the first time the group has shared their creations with the world – last year they created a Christmas window display in Ashburton.
Mana Ake provides support to children in Canterbury, in years 1-8 at school, promoting wellbeing and positive mental health. Mana Ake kaimahi (workers) support schools, families and whānau when children are experiencing issues that impact their wellbeing such as managing emotions, friendships and bullying, parental separation and grief and loss.
For more information visit www.manaake.health.nz
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