Grants help bring dreams to life

Published: 28 February 2024

A $2000 Creative Communities grant for Ashburton's Base Youth Centre was used to engage at-risk youth in the arts, and resulted in street art on the wall of the youth centre’s courtyard.

Students moving around Mt Hutt College see a colourful reminder every day about nature in their back yard, thanks to a Creative Communities grant.

A group of their peers designed and installed a 3.2m x 2.4m mural that is fixed to the side wall of the school hall and it reflects the local flora, fauna and culture of Methven.

The 10 volunteer students on the mural committee were led by local artist Karen Smith and spent one afternoon a week for two terms working out ideas and concepts. The final design was then digitally printed and installed last year on the hall entrance.

A $6500 grant from the Creative Communities Scheme helped cover the cost of paint, equipment, planning and design of the mural, which was called Noho kei raro – Living under Ōpuke.

Teacher Kirsty Saxon said the financial support was much appreciated and allowed the students to bring the mural to life, for the pleasure of the whole community.

Council administers applications to the Creative Communities Scheme and the next funding round runs throughout March; sports teams can also apply for money from the Sport NZ Rural Travel Fund during March.

Democracy and Engagement Group Manager Toni Durham said Council administered applications for both schemes and distributed money annually.

“We have a Creative Communities committee that decides applications and in the past they have helped fund some great projects.

“Last year they granted Base Youth Centre $2000 to run a workshop for at-risk youth and the facilitator used spray paint and rap music to engage this group in art. The end result was a great piece of street art on the wall of the youth centre’s courtyard.

“The Ashburton Society of Performing Arts was also granted $2000 to run a festival of the spoken word and musical theatre competition, and the money helped them hire a suitable venue with a stage and sound equipment.”

She said groups involved in any of the different forms of the arts should check out the grant criteria on Council’s website and apply during the month of March.

Grants and funding information can be found at

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