Meet a Mai-Wel Creative Arts Mentor: James!

Mai-Wel offers a range of exciting creative arts one-on-one and group mentoring and activities. Opportunities are available at both our Maitland and Cessnock sites to explore a range of creative pursuits, including visual arts, music, performing, creative writing and so much more!

Our Creative Arts programs are run by Mai-Wel’s Creative Arts Mentors, who are skilled artists, musicians and performers with years of industry experience in both their creative fields.

We spoke to James from our Cessnock site to learn more about what it’s like to be a Creative Arts Mentor at Mai-Wel.

What’s your name and role at Mai-Wel?

My name is James Gannaway and my role at Mai-Wel is a Creative Arts Mentor.

How would you explain what a Creative Arts Mentor does overall at Mai-Wel? How is this a unique role to Mai-Wel?

I believe, that we overall assist participants in reaching their wildest dreams!

What is your speciality Creative Arts Area? What kind of opportunities are available for participants to take part in with you as their mentor?

As a Music Industry Mentor, the opportunities available for participants during 1:1 and group sessions with me can include learning how to:

  • Play an instrument
  • Produce a podcast
  • Operate live sound and lighting equipment
  • Run a recording studio session
  • Perform live within the community
  • Write songs
  • Promote and market your content via social media
  • And much, much more!

How long have you worked at Mai-Wel?

12 great months!

What qualifications and experience do you have?

Prior to starting at Mai-Wel, I had been:

  • Attending local gigs since the age of 10 and started playing musical instruments when I turned 12.
  • After high school, I studied at an Advanced Diploma level in Sound Production, Music Performance and Music Business at Hunter TAFE.
  • After finishing my studies, I mostly worked freelance as a professional Sound Engineer and Musician as well as a Music Tutor and Uber Driver. While I was working as a music tutor I had the great privilege of tutoring a handful of young people with disabilities, which gave me a new set of skills and appreciation for mentoring.

What does a day in the life of a Creative Arts Mentor look like for you? Give us an example of what a typical days duties may encompass (just an e.g. you could make it up if you like)

A typical day at work for me looks something like this:

  • 9am – Group music mediation
  • 10am – Song writing
  • 11am – Creative writing
  • 1pm – Instrument tuition
  • 2pm – Singing tuition

What do you find rewarding about your role?

That I get to spend all day doing what I love with people who love music as much as I do!

What is one of your favourite memories/jobs you’ve worked on as a Creative Arts Mentor at Mai-Wel? Do you have a particular success story you would like to share?

I think that it’s very easy for people to miss “little wins” that happen every day and in this field of work there are many of them. So, to answer the question, I don’t think I have a favourite memory or success story because there are new ones made each and every day.


Pictured: Meet James, a Creative Arts Mentor at Mai-Wel. 

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