LifeStylers celebrated in annual art festival

This weekend, Thames will host The Supported Life Style Hauraki Trust’s Outsider Art Festival.
The annual event is a collaborative exhibition of works created by LifeStylers who are residents with the trust and people from Artists in the Making, Coromandel Independent Living Trust.
The themes of the festival are self-expression, community inclusion and celebrating diversity.
The term Outsider Art refers to works produced by artists outside the established art world who have not had formal art training or worked within the conventional structures of art production.
Art and creativity are ways in which people can tell their stories and relate to the world.  However, Outsider Art is often undervalued or overlooked.
The Outsider Art Festival will bring the art to the public and will celebrate a unique group of individuals within our community.
Artist and creativity tutor, Deb Brock said the festival featured “an outstanding body of work created within our community that would not be seen elsewhere, and gives the artists an opportunity to sell their work”.
“The works on display are of high quality and are for sale by the participating artists.
“There is a huge amount of self-worth for people when they see their art valued in a professional setting,” she said.
ARTSIDER workshop, one of the vocational spaces of The Supported Life Style Hauraki Trust, is a creativity workshop space equipped with high quality materials so people were able to explore a wide range of artistic media. 
Last year’s art exhibition was a huge success, and thanks to a generous grant from CreativeNZ, this year the trust is able to have the works professionally framed and curated.
ARTSIDER tutor Nigel Sparrow said art had “always been an integral part of the core values of the trust from the beginning; somewhere to go, something to do”.
The trust also recognises that: “we all need meaningful activity of some description to add to the quality of our lives”. 
DETAILS: Outsider Art Festival, GBD, 700 Pollen St, Thames, Friday, October 22, 5.30pm opening and art auction. More works on display at Lotus Realm, 714 Pollen St. The exhibition runs until October 31. By DEBORAH MACDONALD BROWN