All posts by Dartford Arts Network

Make your mark on our community picture at the Dartford Steam Fair on 11th May

Last May, DAN rocked up to the FREE Dartford Steam Fair in Central Park for the first time, bringing with us a black and white image ready for the public to infuse with their creativity and colour – and that they did! After a fun-filled day interacting and engaging with the public, we stood back and admired the results of our creative collaboration…

This year on 11th May in Central Park, we’re back again, with another chance for you to stamp your imagination on our community artwork. Bring kids, grown ups, grannies & grandads dogs, cats, and whomever else you like to this FREE ART EVENT and join us in expressing your artistic response to our not-so-mystery image at the top, which we will unveil fully on social media next week!

As well as our art event, there will be a whole host of fabulous Steam Engines from across British history. Kids of all ages (and especially the grown up ones!) will be mesmerised and wide-eyed at the huge real-life engines, some of which you can explore inside and out. There will be food, entertainment and most of all a lovely community atmosphere.

Come along to this wonderful FREE event on 11th May to Central Park (10am-5pm) and find us in the main marquee!

Join us at DAN for an exciting 2019!

We have some very exciting plans for 2019, with around 5 projects in the pipeline!

We will be starting to send out information about what’s coming up very soon, but in the meantime, if you would like to sign up to our mailing list for more information you can do so here.

We would also love for you to join us as a member! You do not have to be a professional artist – a love of/interest in art and a willingness to get involved in boosting the creative aspects of the local area are the only things you need 🙂 If you are a professional artist, however, we can help you with becoming involved in/organising local exhibitions and events, making useful local contacts and engaging in professional development opportunities.

We at DAN believe everyone has an artist inside them, so if you are interested in exploring your artistic side in more depth through community projects, group exhibitions, and a whole host of other opportunities, do consider coming along to one of our monthly meetings. We invite new members along to our Creative and Social Meetings (which we alternate with our more administrative Business meetings).

Our next Creative and Social meeting will be in the first week of April, then first week of June after that. Email us at

    hello@dartfordartsnetwork

to find our where and when to come along, and keep an eye out for what we have coming up this year.

Love DAN x

HELP NEEDED! Storage space request for local art

You may have noticed that the artworks in Lowfield Street have been taken down, because new hoardings are going up and other work commencing. Some of the work is going back to its creators, but others may be found new homes or even put into a charity auction.

But to make that happen we will need to store up to 15 artworks, each 1.2m square, for just a few weeks – in a secure, dry place.

If you are a local business or organisation with storage facilities (or just a local resident with a big shed!) we would love to hear from you. We just need the facilities, and will arrange any transport etc.

Please share this message with anyone you think might be able to help.

Drastic Plastic Action – Public Workshop #2

Last Saturday we held our second and final Drastic Plastic Action workshop in the Priory Centre, where lots of lovely kids and grown-ups joined us to help put the final decorative touches to our Big Fish sculpture.

The workshop tables were full, with imaginative little fingers busily creating colourful paper scales for the body of the fish, which they then applied with watered down PVA glue. The designs are beautiful, and all the participants were excited about coming along next week to spot their own handmade scales when the fish is up and hanging from the ceiling of the market hall.

Meanwhile, aside from this hive of activity, DAN artists and some brave members of the public applied wet, torn tissue to the body using a technique called Decoupage. The effect of this is striking, and the fish soon began to really come to life.

The final touches were added when the body was turned over and local discarded plastics collected by Dartford Litterpickers were threaded onto the underbelly of the fish and shown coming from its mouth. These will be visible from below when the fish is hung, and explicitly convey the message about the impact plastic waste has on our sea creatures – how it ends up being mistaken for food, or caught around their bodies, often killing or maiming them irreparably.

The sculptures are now ready to hang, and will be installed on Friday evening in the Priory Centre. There will be an official opening by the Mayor of Dartford on Sat 15th Sep at 2.30pm in the Market Hall. Do join us to see the realisation of a fun and rewarding project and of course a lot of hard work by DAN artists! Particular thanks to lead artist Nicola Claxton, for her innovative and stunning work on the fish and puffin sculptures and to Sue Holmes for her beautiful sewing techniques in creating the Giant Jellyfish.

Also thanks for the Priory Centre for the commission and to KCC Councillor Jan Ozog for his kind funding support.

First Drastic Plastic Action Workshop!

On Saturday 1st Sep we held the first of our two public workshops for the Drastic Plastic Action project in the Priory Centre. We had 4 tables of activity going on:

– Sewing the Giant Jellyfish, with Sue
– Creating the Puffin sculpture from wire & willow, with Nicola
– Making and decorating scales using printing, painting and drawing, across two tables with Kate & Kasia

Nicola’s beautiful cane and paper fish sculpture laid in the centre of the tables and provided a stunning, eye-catching centrepiece to the workshop, causing lots of people to stop and talk to us about what we were doing.

We had lots of fabulous kids and grown ups getting involved and making some beautiful scales, as well as helping out Sue with her sewing, and watching Nicola demonstrate the how to manipulate wire and willow into a puffin shape and making it look far easier than it is!

At the end of the day we had a whole bunch of beautiful scales ready to attach to our fish next weekend, and a brand new Puffin sculpture ready to fly from the ceiling of the market place.

Join us next weekend at the Priory Centre Market Hall 10am – 4pm, where we will be finalising the decoration of all three of the sculptures, adding the scales to our giant fish, and filling its belly with lots of collected plastics (thanks to Dartford Litterpickers) to highlight how our used plastics end up destroying wildlife.

Join us this Sat 1st Sep for our first Drastic Plastic Action FREE ART workshop!

This September, Dartford Arts Network is running an exciting new project at the Priory Centre in Dartford, which includes a series of public workshops and the construction/display of large hanging sculptures to highlight the damaging effect of plastics in our oceans.

Through our Plastic Fantastic project at the Centre back in 2016, we were able to discover what happens to our plastics when they end up in the sea. Tragically, they very often end up in the stomachs of marine life and birds, who mistake the plastics for small creatures. Our project aims to highlight this issue and convey an action through message – recycle, re-use and look after your environment locally and nationally!

Over the next few weeks, we aim to make 2-3 large-scale sculptures which will hang from the ceiling of the Priory Centre Market Hall and raise the issue of plastics in an explicit and bold way. The largest of these, the fish, is being designed and built by local commissioned artist Nicola Claxton and is part-way through construction and you can see some in–progress photos here. The fish will be decorated with fabric scales which members of the public will help us make at the weekend workshops and the cane skeleton will display a stomach filled with locally collected plastics.

We will be holding free art workshops across the first two weekends in September – on Sat 1st & Sat 8th / 10am-4pm in the central market hall area of the Priory Centre. These are open to all, no booking required, and there will something to do for all ages – from toddlers to great-grannies!

There will be opportunities for the public to contribute to the making of the sculptures, and to learn new and exciting art skills, such as building sculptures using willow and chicken wire, as well as traditional art forms which are perhaps often undervalued, such as sewing. There will of course be plenty of painting, drawing and block printing too, so do come along and join in on the day.

This project has been kindly supported by Kent County Council Councillor Jan Ozog.

Contact hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com or find us on social media for more information…
Facebook: @dartfordartsnetwork
Twitter: @DartfordArts

Land Art at the Bridge Community Day

Situated under the trees, amongst the natural materials of nature, we felt right at home at the Bridge Community Day as we welcomed local residents to the event and helped them to express themselves through some land art sculpting.

As we have found at all the land art events so far, people are initially a little reluctant to get involved, preferring to observe from afar and work out what we are offering. It doesn’t take long though, for the first inquisitive soul to step forward and have a go and before long the site is a frenzy of activity. Mandalas and rock piles begin to cover the floor, and people intuitively start working together to build a set of beautiful sculptures.

We had another great day running our pop-up stall and extend our thanks to the organisers for inviting us, as well as to Dave Butler from KCC for his kind support of the event.

Thank you to everyone who got involved, and please do come and join us for some more Land Art at…

Wilmington Fete on bank holiday Monday / 29th Aug / Wilmington Common

All photographs (c) Kate Withstandley Photography. Contact hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com for copies of images.