I have noted that reporting about our fair city is improving from the old days where, at times, we were sneered at by outsiders (and unfortunately some insiders).
This is because all throughout our community there are people making a daily positive difference.
This spans from events, such as last weekend's Artists Open Studios, to businesses making their mark on the international and national stages.
The Artists Open Studios is a great example showing that there is much more to Whanganui and opportunities such as this highlight good news stories which need to be grasped with both hands.
Whanganui is a place where innovation thrives and many of the works on display are testament to that.
Artists are embracing the challenges and opportunities of the 'Covid' age and their creativity sets ourselves apart from other centres in a way which can be easily recognised.
Only last week I had a meeting with someone who hailed the art scene and the Whanganui Walls concept (which is nothing short of brilliant – particularly where the art brings vibrancy to otherwise bland corners of the city).
This goes to contribute to and create an environment in which ideas, rather than sinking into a sea of issues, can flourish unhindered with quick access to people with the skills to turn them into reality.
It really does add to the fabric of a "can do" city and, in my view, is a fantastic investment. And you have artists effectively running small businesses and contributing to the wider economy as well.
In one case I provided some "free advice" to an artist who made a beautiful and intricate kete or basket.
The price for the work was very reasonable – too reasonable. My advice was to increase the price to match the effort and love which had been put into the work (and I paid her double the asking price – which was still not enough in my view).
Most artists start from humble beginnings but with a firm vision, which translates into works which are personal to them but connect with an audience. One work by Fleur Wickes in particular struck and has stayed with me - this is because it told a personal story.
Then there is Amla Meijer whose jewellery and beautiful artworks bring to life her background from Africa and Europe.
Each artist we visited was unique and had what amounted to a business model with core values at the heart.
The thing that I would like to do is harness that so that thousands can readily experience their talents, rather than wait for a year for the AOS (so I am putting my mind to it).
But the benefits of the AOS doesn't stop at being an opportunity for artists to show their work. It brings visitors and other economic utility and does not stop there. The various venues like Space Gallery and their resident artists provide another aspect which benefits the economy and the community.
If you are visiting Space check out the work of Michael Haggie, very cool nostalgic pieces which took me back to my youth growing up here.
It is well documented that we live in a time of economic contraction and that, in some cases, businesses are withdrawing or passing on opportunities.
However, the unique work of our local artists highlights that there is innovation and creativity moving in the opposite and positive direction and it is from these and other seeds that the wider economic recovery will grow.