Returning to The Learning Connexion School of Creativity and Art after a 20 year break has proven an inspired decision for Lower Hutt artist Estelle Cainey.
Estelle completed a New Zealand Diploma in Creativity (Level 6) in May, and since then has been concentrating on her biggest creative venture – opening her own art gallery in Wainuiomata
Inspire Art Gallery’s most recent exhibition From Dreams to Reality featured student work from The Learning Connexion, and was the manifestation of Estelle’s vision for the gallery, as a place to showcase the varied creative talents of Lower Hutt artists in particular.
“I’ve opened up Inspire Art Gallery because I really want to showcase and support our local community – there is significant talent in our artist collective.”
From Dreams to Reality featured the work of a diverse group of seven emerging artists from TLC: Melissa Burtenshaw, Leilani Smith, Annalese Hume-Kinzett, Miggy Javier, Mark Peck, Christine Winbush and Emma West.
Estelle originally studied at The Learning Connexion in the mid to late 1990s, after leaving an unfulfilling sales job. She discovered a passion for photography, which she has continued, but it was not until 2018 that she decided to fulfil the creative promise she made to herself two decades earlier.
“I woke up one morning with an idea. I needed to run an exhibition. But I didn’t have anything to put in it. I needed that energy and colour back in my life – I needed to get back into my art. In early 2018 I also had a health scare and knew it was time for a positive reset in my life.”
Enrolling in Level 6 at TLC was the positive reset she was looking for, and now Estelle runs the gallery in conjunction with her spiritual healing facilitation practice. (Estelle is New Zealand’s first Qualified Fractology Practitioner, has a Diploma of Life Coaching and is also a Reiki Master/Teacher).
When she finds the time, Estelle also continues to explore her own artistic ideas through painting and photography. But right now, the focus is on her gallery and spiritual practice.
“The Gallery is an oasis to relax and enjoy soaking in the art works, the area of Homedale Village offers so much more to see and do, as the area goes through a cycle of rejuvenation,” says Estelle.
With future exhibitions at the gallery booking up fast, Estelle says she’s enjoyed combining her artistic and business sides.
“I’m an entrepreneur so it’s just really plying my business skills to something creative. I’ve really enjoyed it from a business perspective, but also from a nurturing perspective because I love working with people and watching them grow in confidence with their own creative work.”
Estelle says The Learning Connexion is the perfect place for people who are ready to make a creative change in their life.
“I think TLC is a great springboard for people to uncover their creativity and immerse themselves into art.”
“It was life-changing for me when I enrolled in the 90s, and then again when I came back in 2018. As a result, I’ve had the courage to open up an art gallery. So whatever qualification someone has from TLC, when they leave I think that it gives them the confidence and the courage to move into something they’ve always been afraid to dive into – it takes them to another level.”
Inspire Gallery - 129 Main Road, Homedale Village, Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt.
Ready to change your life? Enrol at The Learning Connexion for 2020