skip to Main Content

Erena Donnelly’s Creative Journey with ArtsLab

Portrait of Erena Donnelly

ArtsLab graduate Erena Donnelly recently shared her experience with the ArtsLab programme, and how it impacted her creative journey:

Before coming to Artslab, I had just finished my Masters and felt like I had been on a roller coaster. I was transitioning into a new life, but I didn’t know what that was going to be like. In the end, I had to figure something out. I was partly sorry for myself because, in truth, I didn’t have a plan once I completed my masters.

Experiencing the chance to be a part of ArtsLab was life saving for an artist with no plan (me). I made wonderful connections with like-minded creatives and fondly remember looking forward to journeying from Manukau to Devonport because it was like an extra treat for the day.

Experiencing the chance to be a part of ArtsLab was life saving for an artist with no plan (me). I made wonderful connections with like-minded creatives and fondly remember looking forward to journeying from Manukau to Devonport because it was like an extra treat for the day. 

In the Artslab programme, I learned a lot about what it means to be an artist and how to apply my skills for prospective employers. The workshops Artslab offered were excellent.  They included the Business of Arts Workshop – Good money management for your own finances and for business, the Social Media Workshop with Lewis Bostock, and Portfolio Mentoring with Mardo el Noor. I also had an opportunity to chat with Geoff Hughes who gave me some amazing insights about finding my target market and connecting with people of interest on social media.

Even though I was unable to attend the Portfolio Workshop, Erwin was able to arrange for me to meet with Mardo who also provided me with a wealth of information on how to show my creative portfolio to a potential employer and keep them interested in 3secs. To me, the notes I took from all the available workshops I attended are priceless. I still have those notes with me today.

"Thinkbox" by Erena Donnelly

Currently, I’m a Creative Maker in Residence at Manurewa High School’s Makerspace. It was through LinkedIn, which I consider to be a goldmine, that the connection was formed, and I’m glad I attended Artslab’s Social Media Workshop to learn about attracting prospectives.

The Makerspace is a wonderful environment, it’s a place where you just get to create.  There’s no expectations and 100% exploration.  From 3d printers, Laser cutting machine, wood to cardboard, this space has all the latest technology available.  I’m currently creating things I never thought I would get the chance to do and the added bonus, is being with amazing people, Leanne Gibson and Emma O’Riordan, the high school kids and the learning, bouncing ideas, staying curious and being free to create. 

Last but not least, my Creative Business, which I started producing during Lockdown 2020 and finished its development when I arrived at Makerspace, is the cherry on top of my adventure. A perfect plan came to fruition. The product I’ve created aims to help our ideas become a reality. It’s currently being tested by Makerspace students, and at the same time I gathered my courage and applied for funding for my business which is currently on its final step of the funding process. You could say it was a blessing in disguise that Artslab’s Art Business programme taught me the ins and outs of managing my own business. I’m not sure I understand everything yet, but one thing I always make sure to remember is to keep an open mind, have fun, and approach each new experience with a fresh perspective.

Connect with me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erena-donnelly/

Check out my Creative Business: https://freethinkbox.com/

Learn more about the Makerspace here: https://www.manurewa.school.nz/news/latest-news/maker-space-what-does-mean

Back To Top