AC Injects New Life into Art Class


A new partnership between Animation College and Southern Cross Campus (SCC) will open doors for a group of artistic South Auckland teens.

Until now, art students at the Mangere East school have lacked the resources to explore the dynamic world of animation and digital design. But thanks to Animation College, the decile 1 school now has its very own state of the art computer lab, fully kitted out with 15 refurbished PCs.


The lab is the brainchild of Animation College Sales and Marketing Director Gene Harris, who first visited the school two years ago to talk to art students about entering the legendary Light and Dark Secondary School Character Competition.

“I immediately realised that all these students would have real trouble entering because they didn’t have access to computers,” says Gene.

“Some of the work they were producing was insanely good. It dawned on me that there’s a huge amount of creative talent in South Auckland but not necessarily the resources or the general mindset to encourage students to pursue creative careers. I saw a real need here and was keen to help open up some opportunities and pathways.”

The animation industry is booming globally and when it comes to world-class animators and VFX artists New Zealand is punching well above its weight. However, according to Gene many South Auckland school leavers are opting to forge more traditional careers, such as trades, and are unaware of many of the avenues opening up in creative fields.

“The SCC art teacher Susie Gilroy has done an incredible job working with the resources she has, however, the new computers and design lab will really help her take her students to the next level and open their eyes to what is possible in this exciting industry.”


The new lab was officially launched to students last week. As well trying out the new PCs, they were treated to a taste of virtual reality, thanks to the VR headset Gene circulated. Fully inspired by their new technology, SCC art students can now dip their toes into an entirely new realm. And they’ll have plenty of support from Animation College along the way.

“We’d like to offer curriculum support specifically in character design, animation and digital software, as well as feedback and guidance for those students wishing to develop character design entries for the upcoming Light and Dark competition.

“We’ll also be providing some support on a stop-motion animation project that the Year 12 design students are working on and we plan to send out some of our graduates to share their knowledge on pre-production, script writing, storyboarding and character design.”

But the partnership doesn’t stop there. Animation College is also working with supplier partners to offer classes access to digital software training and computer hardware.

“There are a lot of super-talented students at SCC and we are really keen to provide some exciting new opportunities and career options for them,” says Gene.


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