All art school classes full

Playing a name game at the Wanaka Autumn Art School's acting course this week are (from left) New...
Playing a name game at the Wanaka Autumn Art School's acting course this week are (from left) New Zealand actress and course tutor Miranda Harcourt, Libby Paulin, of Hawea Flat, Lyndon Katene, of Dunedin, and Miranda Schwarz, of Wanaka. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Participant numbers at this year's Wanaka Autumn Art School, which started on Monday, are among the highest recorded in the 24 years the school has been running.

Organiser Robyn van Reenen said about 215 people were enrolled across 15 different classes, all of which were full, during the week-long programme.

Classes include everything from cooking, jewellery making and painting to copper etching, photography and fly-fishing. New Zealand actress Miranda Harcourt is the tutor for a new acting course included in the programme this year, while columnist and author Joe Bennett has returned to teach the school's popular writing course. Mrs van Reenen said students had travelled from as far away as Wellington, Auckland and Australia to take part, but about three-quarters of this year's intake were from Upper Clutha and Central Otago.

This was the idea of the school, she said, ''to give people in this area an opportunity to do classes with tutors that they really wouldn't have access to otherwise''.

There are three Australian tutors, one from the United States and the rest from New Zealand.

The self-funded school, run by the Upper Clutha Community Arts Council, is based at Mt Aspiring College and finishes on Friday.

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