Art + Sunshine: keeping us happy and making us grow.
The world has been getting a little scary lately; disaster, unrest and inequality keep dragging us down. More and more we are becoming aware of the massive impact of arts in the community to bring a little sunshine to some pretty dark days.
Art + Sunshine is a six month research project looking at a bunch of different communities across the world and learning more about how art and creativity adds awesome stuff to their communities, and what that awesome stuff looks like.
I am based in a little lovely creative mecca called Rotorua, where I manage a small arts-based community centre. I love the work we do because we get to see the way that art can make people happier, less lonely and feel a strong sense of local pride. It also bridges lots of the gaps that seperate people; language barriers, age, education level, economic resources and socio-demographic factors.
The academic term for this is “improved social well-being”. This contribution to health and well-being that has become increasingly important in a post-Christchurch Earthquake world. Creative New Zealand have done amazing research that looks at the impacts of art in community and we now, more than ever, know how integral art participation is to healthy and thriving community.
During the course of this project I will be spending time in different community organisations and movements in the arts, specifically looking at:
- What ‘thriving’ looks like for them? (What great arts stuff is going on? Are they doing anything that we don't do? What are their growth areas?)
- How they are funded? (Are there funding models they are using that work differently?)
- How are they making a difference? (How do the people using their services feel? What is their experience in their own words? How are their attitudes and lives changed?)