Ventana Creative Collective looks to unite town's cultural talent

Music, arts, workshops, and all things delightful will be bursting out of a newly created cultural hub, Ventana Creative Collective, in Martinborough from next week.

Ventana founder Auriga Martin, has lived in Martinborough for 10 years, and recently shifted away from an extensive career in IT to create a collaborative space in the centre of town.

Originally hailing from California's Ojai Valley, Mrs Martin said Martinborough reminded her of her once small hometown which has now become "a thriving, cool, creative hub".

"I feel like Martinborough and Wairarapa is on its way to becoming something like that. We're on the precipice," she said.


Ventana, which means window in Spanish, is a fitting name for the new Kitchener St business which "is kind of like a window to the world of creativity in Wairarapa" said Mrs Martin. "I want this to be a very unique curated space for people to be inspired and empowered by."

There will be four arms to the business, which officially launches on Saturday, July 9, including workshops, retail, music events, and art exhibitions, kicking off at 9am with a batik silk wrap painting workshop.

For Ventana's opening night they have partnered with the Tora Tora Tora Festival, an annual music festival held along Wairarapa's coastline.

Tora Tora Tora organiser Georgie Wiles has been instrumental in the organisation of Ventana's opening night, putting together an "amazing ticketed musical extravaganza - A Taste of Tora".

The intimate acoustic performance, starting from 6pm, will feature artists Jhan Lindsay, Sam Auger, Claire Terry, Vanessa Stacey and Lisa Tomlins.

"The idea is we can bring people together, and showcase them, give people the opportunity to share their creativity and collaborate and do stuff together," Miss Wiles said.

She sees Ventana as an extension of the music festival, but a set-up that could offer music events on a small-scale, regular basis.

"What we love about the festival is that you can live in the middle of nowhere and not find one person to talk to most of the time, then when the festival comes the whole place is just full of people that not only are happy to be there, but are interesting and create this awesome community.

"The reason we wanted to partner with Ventana is because it's got the same sort of dream behind it."

Sam Auger a musician and artist who moved to Martinborough from Wellington four years ago will be performing his broody country music at Ventana's opening night Taste of Tora event.

He said Ventana was a place that would connect creative people in the community - "a place where we can all collaborate, share ideas".

"This is going to be amazing for me because it gives me the opportunity to create stuff and share stuff with people who are as enthusiastic as I am," he said.

"Wairarapa is becoming not so far away from Wellington now and more and more creative people who live in the city are tossing up the idea of moving here," he said. "They want a creative lifestyle, but can't afford Wellington. I know a few people who moved for those very reasons and it's certainly why I moved over."

Among the creative people behind Ventana is Ardri Shaw, an artist and teacher who has been dubbed "an extreme crafter" by her colleagues.

She will be running several creative workshops this winter and her partner Andy Shaw, a well-known Wellington illustrator now based in Martinborough, is also involved.

Mrs Martin is looking forward to connecting with creative people and said Ventana would help "make those connections between people that might not necessarily run into each other on the street".

"There are amazing places in town but there's not really a place for them all to connect and collaborate creatively. This is the start."