Former Northcote College student Matthew Goldsworthy has always been an individual who wants to share the gifts that life brings with others. And, as a musician, teacher, entrepreneur and producer, he says there is no better way to do this than through the power of the arts, and enabling younger members of the community to feel a sense of purpose and belonging. Matthews work over the last few years has largely shared one common goal: to try and benefit the lives of youth, and others, through self-expression, and promotion of creative freedom within communities.
"As a young musician, I started to realise just how powerful having an outlet really is,” explained Matthew to AIMES Awards judges during the application process. "I was never exactly the ‘stereotypical Kiwi boy’ that loved rugby and beer – and struggled with this quite a bit. Music helped me through many rough times, by shaping my perception of myself and allowing me to actually be different. As I progressed throughout primary, intermediate and secondary school, I became more and more aware of the power of music on mental health and overall wellbeing. In my final year of Northcote College I questioned my principal as to why we had an academic and sports council, but no arts council or community within the school whatsoever. Her response was to prove that we needed one, so I did. I organised the first Arts Showcase at our school from scratch – design, visual effects, sound, photography, videography, overall co-ordination, budget; and with over 200 attendees, plus overwhelmingly supportive and positive feedback, it was a great success. I managed to prove the need for an arts community within the school, and thus, the Arts Council was formed, and is now running independently. This is something I am immensely proud of and humbled by. To see these students leading by example in terms of artistic innovation and supporting creative freedom. Especially in a school curriculum/environment which is centuries too old, is nothing short of inspirational."
In December 2017, after the successful formation of the Arts Council, Matthew realised that he was leaving high school with no guarantee of ever collaborating on a creative level with some of the artists he had come to call friends, even family. What started as a $600 risk booking four weeks out from December 13th turned into a wildly successful event. ‘The Thing About Music’ brought together over 20 musicians from the North Shore to collaborate, create and perform to members of the community.
"The evening had a professional production value. I created a short film and composed the music to it to open the evening, set around the poem ‘I Am In Need of Music’ by Elizabeth Bishop. A professional photographer and videographer captured the night, which really gave a great feel to it and made the musicians feel respected and supported within the community. However, the most heart-warming part of the night was when Dave Baxter (Avalanche City) played a few songs, then ‘Love, Love, Love’ with all of the musicians who had played on the night. It was incredible being a part of it, and I have never felt more humbled in my life to be a part of something which was the ultimate encapsulation of my vision and life goal."
While standing on stage at the end of that night, Matthew says he had a crazy idea - to start an organisation that summed up everything he had been doing in the creative youth space. He realised that The Thing About Music didn’t have to be the end at all - it was only the beginning. Matthew announced his plans for ‘Youth Arts New Zealand’ - a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting young talent. Youth Arts New Zealand was founded shortly after, on the principle that every young person deserves exposure to the arts, regardless of gender, socio-economic background, religion, and other factors that may limit an individual's’ potential to create and immerse themselves in the arts.
"Youth Arts New Zealand is all about promoting leadership and creative stimulation within youth communities all across New Zealand, and aspires to create opportunities in these communities to encourage creative thinking and practices. I put this project through the ‘Co-Starters for Causes’ project incubator and came out the other end with some incredible advice and experience from industry leaders in the non-profit and charitable sectors.
"This year, we have run a successful gig ‘Rock Dirty at Seven Thirty’ which brought three up-and-coming youth rock bands together for a relaxed night of great music and community. Ticket sale expectations were absolutely blown out of the water, and I was humbled yet again by the support of the community.”
"Receiving this award means the absolute world to me,” said Matthew in early October after learning he would be receiving an AIMES Emerging Talent Award. "With the projects I’ve been working on, quite often I do get incredible validation from members of the community, but to be recognised on this level means so, so much to me. It proves that people believe in what I/we are doing, and that makes me more determined and motivated than ever to achieve, and go beyond, my vision for young creatives. This award is so much more than just for me, it’s for YANZ and our incredible team, it’s for everyone who’s believed in me, and it’s for the incredibly talented young artists who are following their hearts and their dreams. I’m absolutely honoured."
Since applying for the award, Matthew has been working to develop a few projects as follows:
Running a fortnightly creative open mic at MoveSpace, a new creative hub on Dominion Road, which has seen magicians, to poets, to musicians get up and perform their craft in front of incredibly appreciative and supportive audiences.
An upcoming collaboration with the Play It Strange Trust.
Upcoming collaboration with the K Rd Business Association to run a youth-friendly monthly professional gig at a venue on K Rd, to showcase 3 young headline acts on a professional stage in Auckland’s centre for arts and culture.
A beautiful yet simplistic interactive online tool which enables and enhances collaboration between creators of all art forms internationally.
A collaboration between YANZ and various organisations, including the NZ Music Foundation, to create online content aimed at educating young artists about pursuing the arts as a career - or hobby. This will have a focus on mental health, and will teach young creatives how to deal with certain situations in the creative industries, assisting their development as they follow their passions. This will also feature content which aims to show young artists what living as a full-time creator or artist is like, from the viewpoints of both distinguished and developing New Zealand creatives.
Matthew says the funds received would largely go towards continuation of his work with YANZ and related projects. The creation of a website and development of online content to build our community presence; towards a launch event; and to generally further progress YANZ projects.
Matthew Goldsworthy receives the AIMES Emerging Talent Award from the North Harbour Club – sponsored by Bellingham Wallace – including a cash grant of $7,500.
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