In June 2020, He Mana Toi Moehau Trust/Creative Coromandel announced the launch of a new, much-needed arts initiative for the Thames-Coromandel District/Hauraki rohe – the pARTner Up Mentoring Programme.
With support and funding from Creative New Zealand’s Arts Continuity Grant, pARTner Up is connecting creatives with experienced artist mentors to offer support, skills and knowledge – a way for creatives to take a significant step forward in their careers.
The Thames-Coromandel region, while a beautiful location to live and work, is also isolated and individual communities are remote. This can prove challenging for artists of all disciplines, who may not always have the opportunity to work alongside or learn from other artists in their field, nor find ways to gain exposure for their practice outside of their communities.
Creative Coromandel was originally formed in 2016 through consultation with the Coromandel arts sector, and works to deliver a unified approach to promotion, advocacy and representation of the arts across the District. With representatives from across the Peninsula, the group are fully committed to supporting creatives to reach their full potential.
To design pARTner Up, Creative Coromandel drew inspiration from a similar mentoring initiative run in Northland in 2010, called Crossing the Gap, facilitated by Mary Britton under the Cultural Heritage and Arts Resource Trust (CHART), which has since transitioned into Creative Northland.
They also called on the expertise of Master Certified Coach and Papa Aroha resident, Linley Rose, to facilitate the programme. Linley is a globally qualified and experienced coach and mentor, with close to 10,000 hours of coaching clients and training coaches in many diverse industry groups.
“We put the call out for both creatives who are strongly committed to developing their art practice and are willing to see the programme through from start to finish, and mentors who are in a position to share their wealth of knowledge and expertise,” explains Linley.
“Each mentee has been paired with a mentor who is working with them in the spirit of being their champion. The mentors are sharing their experiences and wisdom for success in the art world and encouraging their mentee to step outside of their existing comfort zones”.
So far mentee’s have been inspired to set goals around developing an art practice that is financially sustainable, making their art more visible on a broader stage, resolving creative blocks and finding their artistic ‘voice’ at a higher level.
They have also participated in workshops with guest speakers Pamela Grealey (business mentor and expert in social media marketing for artists) and planned for September, Stephanie Christie (poet, artist and creative coach). As a special surprise renowned artist Michael Smither, a recent addition to the Creative Coromandel team as their patron, has kindly offered to host a workshop at his studio for mentees and mentors in the near future.
“It’s of utmost importance to us that our creatives are supported and encouraged to engage in their artistic practice, and feel confident in their abilities to set and achieve long-term career goals,” says Jan Wright, Chair of He Mana Toi Moehau Trust/Creative Coromandel. “But not everyone wants to make a living from the arts, so this programme is also for creatives who feel driven to become the best they can possibly be in their practice.
“This is how the idea for pARTner Up came about. We realised a formal facilitation of mentee-mentor relationships was needed, a programme that was grounded in coaching and mentoring principles rather than arts techniques or skills”.
With the creative arts playing a large role in making the Thames-Coromandel District an attractive destination for domestic and international visitors, Creative Coromandel believes pARTner Up will go a long way in strengthening the creative arts sector in this region.
“We have amazing artistic talent in this region and several nationally and internationally acclaimed artists call The Coromandel home. The aim for pARTner Up is to share knowledge and inspiration which supports creatives to make that very personal, and often quite daunting, transition from ‘good’ to ‘great’.
pARTner Up is a 9 month commitment but will be delivered in two phases. The first phase is currently in action until 30 September 2020. The second phase will run through from Oct 2020 to March 2021 with a break over December and January.
Creative Coromandel gives thanks to Creative New Zealand and Thames-Coromandel District Council for their support of this initiative.