The Tiapapata Art Centre was founded by Wendy and Steven Percival in 1989. The idea was inspired by an extended visit from Wendy's mother Audrey Bensley, an accomplished ceramics artist from the United States. They decided the best course of action was to set up a pottery studio to keep her busy and productive. Wendy, who had worked mainly in 2D art, began to explore ceramics and discovered a new channel for her creativity. By the time Audrey left Samoa after her first visit, the vision of establishing an art school had become a reality. The first handful of students was comprised of children from neighbouring families, including two of their sons. Early classes included pottery (high, low and primitive fire) and printmaking. By 1992, the art centre was in a position to move to the next level and a grant was received from the Canadian Government to provide equipment and art supplies for the growing studio. As years passed, students and media grew to create what the art centre has become today, receiving a steady stream of artists in residence from all over the world.
All people have a right to express themselves creatively and should be encouraged to learn about and develop their creativity
People with limited access to creating arts and crafts should be provided with opportunities to explore and enjoy these activities. Barriers restricting access to arts and crafts should be removed
Creativity conduces to wellbeing
Arts and crafts enrich society