Home  /  Community-announcements  / 

“Magical moments” at Vincents Art Workshop

10 Jul 2024
“Changing lives through art” is Vincents mission statement and offering opportunities for people to have positive creative experiences continues to be one of Andrew Mitchell's key aims in his new role.  

Reducing barriers to participation in the arts and providing a welcoming space is important to Andrew Mitchell, Kaiwhakahaere Coordinator at Vincents Art Workshop in downtown Wellington.   

Andrew Mitchell has been a part of Vincents’ history since 2005: firstly as an arts tutor, then as the Senior Tutor, and finally, as its Kaiwhakahaere for the past year.  

As its Kaiwhakahaere, Andrew’s role includes managing finances, overseeing community projects, and employing and managing staff.  

"I'm focused on making sure Vincents has the resources it needs to continue operating and providing a warm, welcoming space, art materials and the support people need to make art," he says. 

Vincents Art Workshop holds an important place in Andrew's life and he says that being a part of its journey for 20 years is rewarding. Encouraging artists who come in and then seeing their joy when they meet their creative goals is gratifying.  

“I had the privilege of hanging more than 250 exhibitions during my time in my previous role,” he recalls. “It’s so rewarding when someone is exhibiting a piece for the first time and then they sell. Seeing their reaction is one of those magical moments that I keep coming back for.”  

Reducing obstacles to participating in art

“Changing lives through art” is Vincents mission statement and offering opportunities for people to have positive creative experiences continues to be one of Andrew's key aims in his new role.  

"We've always had a strong focus on people's wellbeing,” he says. “What we're trying to do here is offer support for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to make art." 

Accessibility for Andrew means reducing obstacles to participating in art. He says if that barrier is access to materials, skilled tutors or access to the space to create freely, that is what Vincents Art Workshop can offer.  

“I think for many of the artists who attend our studio, consistency and safety are really important to them, so this is always in my mind when I'm making decisions about our activities,” he says.  

Fundraising and securing the budget to keep Vincents in operation continues to be a challenge. Much of Andrew’s job now is establishing new systems to deal with the constant fundraising and reporting that needs to be done to secure and maintain funding. 

“Most of our funding comes from the Ministry of Social Development and the Wellington City Council, which we're really grateful for. We have to find the rest of our funding from other places such as philanthropic trusts.” 

For Andrew, Vincents Art Workshop provides a vital service and he says that all cities and towns in New Zealand should have creative spaces like Vincents to support and nourish their citizens. 

"We were the first creative space that I’m aware of and the fact that we're still going after nearly 40 years is important,” he says. “I think a free, inclusive art space is still a revolutionary concept even after all these years." 

Celebrating Vincents' 40th anniversary

The space will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in March 2025 and Andrew is working on a series of events to mark the occasion. 

He's also documenting its history by archiving and writing stories about the staff and the artists of Vincents. "As part of our 40th celebrations, we're doing a bit of work archiving all of our stuff and working on a project to collect some more of our artists stories, through interviews and video, because they're all part of our history."

Vincents Art Workshop is always looking for more people to support the space and its operations. "We are always interested in more people supporting us. We have a Friends of Vincents programme where people can choose to donate an amount of money monthly, so we're really hoping to increase the number of people who are willing to do that."

Being a part of Vincents Art Workshop and its evolution over many years is something that Andrew is proud of and hopes to continue leading.  

"We've done well to continue to be here and that's the goal – to be here and meet the needs of people in the Wellington community. I'm proud we have this space, and that I've had the privilege of helping it continue."