Hamilton's Arts for Health's heart beats for 30 years

Lynda Preest, Ian Johnston, Vishal Chandra, Mike Ground and Cass Hendry in their new studio at Arts for Health.
KELLEY TANTAU/FAIRFAX NZ

Lynda Preest, Ian Johnston, Vishal Chandra, Mike Ground and Cass Hendry in their new studio at Arts for Health.

When Arts for Health was established by a small group of doctors' wives in 1987, they saw there was a real need to offer arts and crafts to disadvantaged people.

Thirty years later, community arts programme manager Cass Hendry said this need still exists.

Arts for Health is a charitable trust that provide art and craft sessions to people who are disadvantaged due to illness, injury or disability.

Arts for Health tutor Ian Johnston works on his 'Fat Rat' art piece.
KELLEY TANTAU/FAIRFAX NZ

Arts for Health tutor Ian Johnston works on his 'Fat Rat' art piece.

The philosophy of the programme is that everyone has the right to be creative, no matter what their circumstances.

Hendry said they have seen hundreds of clients over the years.

But she and funding and trust administrator Lynda Preest admit it has been a slow build.

The trust is reliant on grants, donations and fundraising to operate.

Arts for Health is located at Ward Park Arts and Craft Centre and is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10am until 2.30pm.

They have an open door policy and Hendry said interested residents can "rock on in".

Initially staff will discuss with the client their individual needs, interests and goals.

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They support the clients to gain confidence in their chosen activities.

Hendry said the trust's greatest success comes from when clients begin to help one another.

"The goal this year is for each of them to work on their own portfolios. It helps with anxiety and they get to see their own progress," she said.

"No one can take that away from them."

Portfolios are a new initiative for Arts for Health this year.

They have also established a new studio space and three art tutors, and hope to develop the garage into a wet area for clay projects.

Hendry also wants to keep options open to purchase new technology, such as iPads.

"We want to come up to this century. This will give (clients) a chance to have the same opportunities as everyone else," she said.

Arts for Health will celebrate their 30th anniversary on Sunday, April 9 at the Hamilton Gardens.

They are keen to hear from anyone who has used their services over these 30 years, or past board members, to help celebrate the milestone.

  • To get in touch, phone 07 838 2271 or email: artsforhealth@xtra.co.nz.

 - Stuff

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