Giving creative talents a place to be inspired and create is the focus of The Corner – a new initiative in the heart of Papakura.
Located in O’Shannessey Street, The Creative Souls Project opened in May and is already proving a hit with locals.
“We’ve been blown away,” says Jaack Black, one of three leaders working at The Corner.
“Within a few weeks, with no marketing, and just word of mouth, we have had people just dropping in, we’ve had dance workshops, deejay workshops, and people making cloth bags and showing others how to sew.
“It’s become a hub of creativity that we always hoped, and a place people are coming to hang out and already seeing as their place.”
The Papakura local with a love and background in the performing arts says The Corner is his first ‘real job’ and he is excited to be doing something he loves while helping others to reach their potential.
“There are a lot of creative people in Papakura and here is a space that is comfortable, safe and close to home where they can develop and express their creativity.
“I love that I can work in a job that is just so ... me!”
The other two leaders are Neihana Lowe and Bonnie Schäche, also from Papakura.
Leonie Freeman of The Creative Souls Project says the long-term goal is to develop a network of creatives within Papakura that could provide their services locally.
“The idea is that if someone needs creative advice, a photographer or a mural painted, there is a network of locals they can tap into rather than going outside the area. That provides opportunities for creatives to make a career out of their talents.”
Local board invests in innovation and creativity
Papakura Local Board is excited about what’s happening at The Corner, which stems from the board’s commitment and investment in developing innovation and creativity opportunities to boost Papakura’s economic future.
“The success they are having so far tells me there is a real appetite for this in Papakura. We have immensely talented people in our community, they just needed a place to be inspired and develop those skills and The Corner is providing that," says chair Brent Catchpole.
“What people consider a business is changing, so if we want a bustling metropolitan centre and a strong local economy providing local jobs for local people, then we need to look at what types of business will deliver that result.”
In the past six months, the board has funded a series of events exploring skills including robotics and 3D printing, had research conducted to identify local innovators and opportunities and is also supporting The Corner with a grant to help with rent.
A helping hand
In its first few weeks, the team at The Corner have been humbled by the generosity of locals from the chairs donated by Papakura Farmers, to a bundle of materials and art supplies.
“It was really unexpected but much appreciated so if anyone has anything they think we could use or skills people can benefit from we would love to see you – everyone is welcome to stop by at any time,” says Jaack.
He says one item they would like some help with is women’s sanitary products.
“We had some donated from a previous project that we had been giving away but they are pretty much gone so we would like to restock.”
The Corner at 85 O’Shannessey St is open every day, 12pm-5pm. Stop by any time or follow them on Facebook.