Updated: Mar 30
Time for exchange in Christchurch - The hidden place for fellow artists out of town
Whatever you do, wherever you are, you always want to feel like you belong somewhere. You want to feel safe and welcomed. You want to feel like you can fully naturally be yourself and of course you want to feel cozy. Right?
People that live in Christchurch often tell me that they don’t get that feeling of community and acceptance. They get caught up feeling a bit lost and disoriented. Believe me, I can relate.
As an actress, writer and model I felt a bit lost when I first got to Christchurch and I wondered… is there any artsy community out there?
I looked up on Google, Facebook and Instagram but simply couldn’t find what I was looking for - artsy people in Christchurch I could collaborate with. However, I didn’t want to give up so I started asking around but people just said things like “I don’t know anyone sorry”, “I don’t think there are many artists in Christchurch. If you want to find some fellow creatives you should better go to Wellington or Auckland. I don’t think you will find many of them here”, “If you’re looking for artists in Christchurch good luck. There is not much down here”, “I think the very few artists that are in Christchurch keep more to themselves and it’s pretty hard to find them.”
Did that frustrate me? Yes.
Did that stop me from continuing my search? Hell nah.
We all kinda know the basics of “the law of attraction, don’t we?” or in other words “As you sow so shall you seek.” I think I was putting out the right energy and said the words “WHERE CAN I FIND ARTISTS IN CHRISTCHURCH? So many times that the universe started to hear me out and brought me to the right place: XCHX
If you’re brain is as slow as mine you probably wonder what those random letters are supposed to mean. If you’re smarter you probably already figured it out by yourself: Exchange
Amazing coffee, super friendly staff and a hella lotta art.
It took me a while to realize that I just discovered a gold mine and not just another good café.
I looked around and there were little bits and pieces of art everywhere. I felt like I was in the living room of a very inspiring person not in a venue.
This feeling extended when a random woman just walked towards me and gave me a dog to cuddle with - without saying a word - as if that’s the most normal thing to do.
Then I looked to my left and got super confused. There was stuff everywhere. People of all genders and generations were working on different things: clothes, pottery, laptops, paintings
This was literally a big artsy living room full of fashion designers, illustrators, artists, filmmakers, potters and more.
I was blown away.
I felt like I entered an artistic heaven.
I started talking to everyone and people were super kind and loving even though they just met me a second ago. Then I met Preston,the owner of the Exchange and he just casually gave me the most loving hug and a home, as if it was the most common thing in the world to let a complete stranger live in your house without asking for anything in return.
Oh and he gave me popcorn.
The next few days I connected with so many artists that I almost couldn't believe it was real. I found a loving community that embraced me with open arms. I cannot describe the amount of love every single human gave me after I just met them.
If you do live in Christchurch and you do feel a little lost, you will find your people there.
Yes, there is an artsy community.
Yes, there are many of them.
Yes, they will welcome you with open arms no matter what sexuality, ethnicity, gender, skin color or craft you have.
Yes, they do have vegan food :)
Whether you are an introvert, or an extrovert. A yoga teacher, a dancer, a singer, painter or a fashion designer - this is an open place for anyone that feels like vibing with a more artsy environment.
Everyone is welcome. This is a safe place and a happy place. I am very grateful that I somehow found it… or maybe it found me?
Let it find you too and I will promise you that you will find your place in the hearts of everyone that you will meet here.
And get amazing coffee.
And find friends.
And potentially get some popcorn.
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