A Hawke's Bay opera icon is on a mission to make the arts more accessible to the younger generation.

Napier's Anna Pierard is flying to London today to give a presentation to the chair of the Commonwealth Education Trust.

Pierard's ambition is to grow her exisiting programme - Project Prima Volta - which uses opera as an educative tool, accessible to all young people regardless of their circumstances.

"We're looking at scaling it to give more kids access, so how that scaling looks will be determined over the next year. We're heading to London to see if we can get investment in that process," says Pierard.


"We set out to essentially bring opera to kids because we loved it, I've trained in London and it's opened up a whole world for me.

"Not many kids have access to it, and after the programme, we realized these kids had an incredible transformation as they focused on creating something beautiful and they were responsible for delivering it to a fee-paying audience."

Pierard says there will be a number of key influences at the presentation and has high hopes of getting them on board to help spread the arts to influence more young people.

"The people who will be attending are very influential and very successful people, and they will have a very strong sense of social justice; they will be assessing our presentation, and trying to determine whether we are credible recipients for some funding."

Pierard says the arts are key to addressing major issues like mental health and participation in the creative field can help young people gain life-long skills.

"We've captured the level of some pretty high individuals who have real global perspective as to the sort of challenges that all societies face and the potency of the arts as a tool for addressing this global illness of mental health, which we need to tackle when kids are young."

Pierard says she will be visiting Bradford School in England, which received international coverage after they offered two hours of music a day to their students.

"They were the bottom of the SAT table in the UK and the two hours of music therapy totally changed their results."

Pierard will also be visiting an academic who is behind a pilot which is called Arts on Prescription.

The pilot offers a series of weekly art workshops for people experiencing depression, anxiety or other mental health problems.

The workshops are led by professional artist and a qualified counsellor and offer the chance to experience working with a wide range of materials and techniques, including drawing, printmaking and sculpture.