Things are moving along at Creative Arts Napier as our pocket of the world enjoys the freedom to move around and make the most of what's on offer. Coming up soon is a wealth of opportunity to join creative classes, view new exhibitions or book some space to hold your own at CAN.

First on the list is an exciting exhibition opening celebration Friday, August 7, at 5-7pm, and you are warmly invited to join us. W6 is a group exhibition, featuring well known artists from Heretaunga/Hawke's Bay; Troy Gardiner, Clayton Gibson, Andy Heyward, Ross Mackay, Jean McGavock and Ricks Terstappen. What they have in common, is that they all belong to the Heretaunga Ararau o Ngāti Kahungunu Waka Ama Roopu. In other words, they all paddle waka ama together up and down the Ngaruroro River.

This exhibition is called W6 because usually there are six people in a waka and the competitive name for a six-person waka is a W6.

The creation of art is their primary focus in life, followed closely by their love for waka ama.

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The works on display, both sculpture and painting, promise to take your breath away as each artist relates their own visual story relating to waka, legends, navigation and voyages.

Clayton Gibson, curator at Hastings City Art Gallery, is one of the group and among other work is exhibiting two paintings of the native ruru (owl):

"In pre-European times the pā of Tanenuiarangi sat on the banks of Ngaruroro Mokotuararo ki Rangatira. This pā was never breached by the enemy. Its palisade was constructed of kahikatea which grew in the local ngahere and was a preferred habitat of ruru (our local owl).

"The paintings reflect the relationship between the river and the people, the river and the birdlife and the waka used to travel inland and out to the bay, and the relationship I now share as a member of Heretaunga Ararau o Ngāti Kahungunu Waka ama Roopu."

It is a great privilege for CAN to host this beautiful exhibition, and we look forward to welcoming you along. The work will be on display in the Main Gallery from Friday August 7 until Thursday August 20.

Next on the list is a wonderful opportunity for Hawke's Bay artists to enter our upcoming CANdid-50 community art exhibition. The selected works will be on display in the CAN Main Gallery in October, during the Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, including the exciting Nuit Blanc; Art after Dark event and during the Hawke's Bay Art Trail at Labour weekend.

This selected exhibition of 50 works by 50 Hawke's Bay artists promises to be an exciting addition to all of the events and exhibitions on offer during this time.

All Hawke's Bay artists are invited to submit a work, in any media, for selection by the well respected and experienced Hawke's Bay based selector Roy Dunningham.

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There will be an exciting gala opening night and a People's Choice Award will be presented at the end of the exhibition. We will be encouraging everyone so come and cast their vote. As the entry fee is just $15, we are expecting all of our talented regional artists to make a submission. The result will be a vibrant showcase of Hawke's Bay art, bringing together both artists and the community.

This year has brought about some challenges for the arts sector, and has noticeably affected the income of our region's artists. After the Covid lockdown was over in May, and everyone emerged from their cocoons, CAN held an exhibition in June to showcase the work that the enforced studio time had brought about, entitled We CAN Celebrate.

This exhibition was a great success, not only in terms of participation and the number of pieces on display, but also with visitor numbers and sales. This support from artists and the community, and the direct connections that were made between artists and buyers reinforced and validated the function and value of community arts.

CAN operates at a grassroots level, providing accessibility to the arts, not only for all visitors but by providing affordable space for exhibitors too. What it proved to CAN, was that an important part of our role is to connect the dots and act as a conduit to facilitate these interactions between artists and art appreciators. During times like these, we all need to show our support, and what better way than to purchase an artwork for your home?

Ask us about the new CAN membership scheme too, which is another way to show your support for the opportunities we provide. Pop along to CAN this weekend, view all the new foyer exhibitions and check out the workshops coming up. We look forward to seeing you soon.

■ Lisa Feyen is interim manager for Creative Arts Napier (CAN), 16 Byron St. CAN is open seven days a week from Monday to Saturday, 10am-4pm and Sunday, 10am-2pm. Free entry. Info: 835 9448, thecan.co.nz or Facebook.

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