Canberra is packed with creative minds. Talented people who enrich our community in so many ways and on so many levels. The line-up of true innovators includes a local artist and a yoga teacher who devote their lives to inspiring kids to learn through creative and active play.
This story begins after award-winning Canberra artist, Teffany Thiedeman, graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the ANU School of Art and Design. She had a young baby, was practicing her art part-time but needed more. She started tutoring art classes for kids and it didn’t take long before Teffany realised there was a massive craving for her unique approach. She began teaching larger classes from her home studio, Hearth, where Teffany showcases an evolving range of figurative and sculptural work.
‘The classes got so big we even held them in the driveway,’ says Teffany. ‘The kids loved them and so did their parents.’
The next chapter of this story sees Teffany’s partner, Mathew Long—a yoga teacher who graduated from the Australian National University in Canberra, majoring in Anthroplogy, Archaeology and History—joining forces with her. Realising the duo was on to a good thing, Mathew recommended that the classes be formalised and that their passion for igniting sparks in young people be transformed into a proper business.
Aeon Academy was born and that was 15 years ago. Since opening, with Yarralumla Primary School its main base, Aeon Academy has seen thousands of kids pass through its foundation and specialised programs for kids as young as three to teens up to 16 years of age.
‘Mathew has always been a game’s master,’ says Teffany, ‘and he was able to bring another type of programming to the table, including dramatic adventures which are so wonderful for learning. We’ve worked hard at developing creative and active play programs that aren’t available elsewhere in Canberra.’
On Saturday, 24 November, Aeon Academy will celebrate its 15th birthday with a big bash at Yarralumla Primary School. All families are welcome from across Canberra, not just those who have kids enrolled at the Academy.
‘We’re all about spurring the imagination and building the compassion of future generations, especially important for not just individual kids and their families, but Canberra as a whole,’ says Mathew. ‘Our before school, after school and holiday programs are unique, enriching and memorable, so much so that several of our current educators were themselves students.’
Today, Aeon Academy is a not-for-profit social enterprise. It runs open houses four times a year, to give back to the community. The upcoming open house celebrates Aeon Academy’s 15th birthday and is going to be the biggest party yet.
The line-up of birthday activities includes a dramatic adventure tournament to raise funds for Freyja Christiansen and her fight against cancer. There will be art activities, including making badges and creating Aeon Academy’s famous cardboard go-carts. Live music will be by Scroggin, a local band made up partly of former teachers and students from Aeon Academy. An exhibition of art created by kids will be held, with fantastic ceramic work the students have made with a bird theme. It will feature bird baths, bird houses and awesome avian animalia.
At the 15th birthday bash, Aeon Academy will announce the winners of its inaugural Scholarship Program, with scholarships being awarded to five children.
Aeon Academy runs free open days around four times a year, welcoming kids from across Canberra and their parents, to enjoy a day of inspirational activities. At this one, a mega birthday cake will top off celebrations.
Canberra is so fortunate to have creatives like Teffany and Mathew who have the courage of their convictions and who are prepared to solely dedicate their lives to building an inspirational place for us all to live.
The birthday bash is part of Design Canberra, a month-long festival rolling our 150 activities across the capital. Teffany hosted an Open Studio in Hearth, as part of the festival, which also included a line of functional wares under her domestic label ‘Fetish Designs’. Teffany works predominantly in clay but also with bronze, fibreglass, paper, stone and wax.
‘Art permeates my every day life and my every day life is entangled with my art,’ says Teffany.
Mathew, Founder and Creative Director of Aeon Academy, and Teffany, Founder and Artistic Director, welcome all Canberrans to their open day,10 am to 4pm, 24 November. More information: http://www.aeonacademy.com.au
Stay with us at LFW for more profiles of inspirational and hard-working Canberrans who make a difference to our lives in so many ways.