Kākano Youth Arts Collective is a very unique and special programme. We are about so much more than just creating art, we are whānau. For many in the group, this is the only place where they can feel supported, safe and free to be themselves.
Kākano Youth Arts Collective developed from a pilot programme in 2013 as a response to recognising the needs of some of the most vulnerable young people in West Auckland; all of whom have struggled with mainstream education. Since then it has grown into a hugely successful initiative, and has changed the lives of many young people.
Kākano runs 3 studio sessions a week, and currently has approximately 13 young people in the Collective. These young people are aged between 12 – 20 years. We work closely with Oranga Tamariki, Police, Alternative Education Providers, Youth Services, and Local Government to collectively address the barriers they face. Under the guidance of highly experienced tutors, all of whom are practising multidisciplinary artists, our rangatahi are given the opportunity to develop their art practice, their confidence and their self-worth.
Kākano artists are given a taste of many different mediums in order to discover what inspires and works best for them. Within the Collective, there are painters, printmakers, carvers, photographers and aerosol artists. By using art as a vehicle to harness motivation, we are able to use this as a pathway to develop life skills and work ethic.
Through our studio sessions and external projects, Kākano creates a learning environment where young people discover how to harness their natural abilities, develop skills and self-discipline in order to forge a better future for themselves. It provides a launch pad, as young people develop confidence, practical skills, self-belief and self-management. Along with authentic hands on learning, they learn to build healthier relationships based on respect and generosity, improve their communication skills, practice public speaking and develop leadership abilities.
One of the biggest achievements of the Collective is the transitioning of our young people into Tertiary education. A close partnership with Unitec School of Creative Industries has seen some of our young people studying at Foundation, Certificate and Bachelor levels. All of these young people had been out of mainstream education for a long time – some since they were 12 years old. Young people are supported fully in the transition, as we continue to monitor and support them, liaising with Unitec tutors to ensure their success.
Over the last 8 years we have recognised the increasing needs of our young people in areas outside of the Studio, including obtaining driving lessons, attending job interviews, doctors appointments and delivering art supplies during the COVID-19 lockdown. So we were thrilled to be able to add our Youth Support Worker, Sarah Candler to the team in 2020. She works alongside our young people to help remove some of the barriers they might face, working collaboratively with Oranga Tamariki, Police, and youth support organisations to provide the wrap around care for our rangitahi which is extremely important. The love and care she gives our young people is invaluable, and goes a long way towards their success.
We are fully committed to continuing to support young artists to thrive, by teaching them to put their natural abilities to use and create a positive future for themselves and their whānau. Help us keep creating by giving koha to our Give A Little fund.