The stART program offers 16-18 year old students the rare opportunity to learn from some of New Zealand’s most successful artists.

The program provides vocational mentorship, inspiration and lessons from the experiences of artists how have spent their lives in the career.

The course will take place on: the 13th, 14th and 15th of January, 2023
Each day will run from 10:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Lunch will be provided

stART will be hosted at AI Gallery:
Level 1, Building A
386 Manukau Road, Epsom

Registration closes 1st October, 2022


Executive summary

There are art teachers, and there are artist art teachers. For our generation of art students,
amidst a world of modern competition, the value of an artist art teacher is almost vital for
elevated success. Because they did not focus down the path of teaching, they have personal
experiences and knowledge of the visual art industry. Unfortunately, successful artists have
much less time for teaching, hence this is privilege reserved for a fortunate few, right?

Fortunately, perhaps not!

Auckland International (AI) Gallery’s stART program allows ambitious, less fortunate high
school students looking to enter the art industry to learn from a artist art teachers. To close
the gap between socioeconomic background and career success, our 3-day program hosts a
different artist each day, all from varying cultural backgrounds, to educate and inspire our
students; the type of education normally only those with private mentors get.
Our program hopes to leave 6 lucky students with new-found inspiration, vocational wisdom
and a positively memorable experience, all provided by some of New Zealand’s most
successful artists.

Project Background

The New Zealand Ministry of Education has been under fire for quite some time now. Since 2001, despite a 32% increase in per-pupil spending, our students have fallen from a admired top position to disappointingly average. Even worse, through the lated round of OECD testing, New Zealand was given the crown for strongest relationship between socioeconomic background and educational performance of all English-speaking countries. Luckily, OECD only tests english, maths and science. Unluckily, as RNZ has reported, there has also been a migration into these subjects, away from the arts. 

Another trend within recent years is the rise of STEM and the fall of art. now lists artists as a low in demand job, and in 2020 the New Zealand government invested 25 million into the art council Creative NZ to fight against this problem. If the demand for artists remains low, in order to minimise a lack of opportunities for those with less fortunate socioeconomic backgrounds, there needs to be a way of guidance for those who aren’t lucky enough for a private mentor. 

Our organisation aims to tackle this problem by providing an insight into an artistic career by learning from successful New Zealand artists themselves. We aim to make the art career pathway seem viable and to strive for. By learning from successful artists, we hope our students are inspired and educated enough to want to and know how to start their own artistic career.


Our problem is the lack of enthusiasm and equal education among a competitive art scene.
To solve this problem, our program educates not with art teachers, but artist teachers. Apart
from teacher their artistic craft, with their experience, our artists are able to teach how they
were able to establish themselves a sustainable source of revenue and inspiration. Since they
had to fight for survival in the art world, they may have experience unlike an art teacher’s
who has spend most of their career teaching.

This will provide our students with the career tips to hopefully match or even surpass more
“fortunate” students with private mentors. They have the opportunity to learn from the
mistakes and strategies not of an art teacher but one of New Zealand’s many successful
artists. There are simply too few teachers who have spent long enough in the career path to
offer this level of guidance, especially in less-fortunate schools.

To make this happen, AI Gallery will contact a few of its many artists, all chosen from the
best, to educate our students. They will all be very different, with different cultural
backgrounds, and will each come to the AI Gallery venue for a day to teach from their
personalised experiences.