All posts by Dartford Arts Network

Traces – A DAN Group Exhibition

Traces – A DAN Group Exhibition

We at Dartford Arts Network (DAN) have been busy organising our newest project – a group exhibition of our work at the Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford.  Although primarily a music venue, this exciting building also has a large exhibition space in its foyer and hosts a regularly changing show of art works.

As a group, we aim to hold an annual show, whereby all subscribed members are invited to show a collection of their work. This year we have chosen the theme ‘Traces’ to guide the subject matter. We chose this theme as it can be widely interpreted, and gives enough scope for all of our artists to submit their works, which will inevitably vary quite dramatically in process and style. It does, however, provide a linking thread between the images. A viewer might find connections between two pieces of work which previously wouldn’t have seemed connected. In this way, each work gains a new aspect for the viewer to discover. Traces could be ephemeral; a spiritual trace, or an emotional trace. It could be physical; marks of activity, or history. It will be fascinating to see how each artist has interpreted the theme from their own unique perspective.

Featuring a variety of mediums, sizes and styles, the exhibition will showcase a section of the huge wealth of talent which we cultivate within our group.

The show is open from 2nd November until 30th November, in the foyer at the Mick Jagger Centre. Our Free Private View is being held on 19th November 6.30pm – 9pm, where we will be giving an extra 10% off the price of all works sold on the night with the flyer. Come along and discover which ‘traces’ you can find.

To provide a soundtrack to the evening, we have teamed up with Los Endos – the best Genesis tribute band you’ll ever see – and are holding our exhibition Private View on the night of their show at the Mick Jagger Centre. The PV will begin an hour before the show, and we strongly recommend you combine visiting our show with seeing the band too. You won’t regret it! Tickets are £18 and available from the Mick Jagger Centre box office – www.themickjaggercentre.com / 01322 291100

Traces – A DAN Group Exhibition

Yoghurt-pot octopuses, a plastic-packed tree and a world map to make you rethink your recycling

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On Saturday 17th we held our second and final Plastic Fantastic workshop. Again, public response was great, with plenty of adults and children creating beautiful works of art from our treasure trove of plastic waste.

Our first guest was an adult, Ann-Marie, who had been sent our way by the Project Dirt newsletter – it was great to meet someone who had come specifically to see us and the project. Her creation was a stunning Indian-inspired elephant, complete with jewels and hand-drawn patterns.

Throughout the day we had a variety of guests, but all were inspired by the opportunity to just get stuck in and create. One girl and her brother stayed for a couple of hours, making piece after piece and adding it to the tree. You could almost see the creative urge pouring out of them!

Drawings/elephants/yoghurt pot caterpillars and sea snakes, CD sun catchers, CD case compositions, crayon pictures and paintings were all added to our tree – both on the branches and on the base.

We also chatted to visitors who were interested in the concept and drawn in by the map sculpture and images in our ‘Ideas Workshop’.

Both the map and tree sculpture are now on display in the Priory Centre Market Place for a week. The barrier we created for safety reasons was also decorated by visitors to the workshop – some with the help of our volunteer artists. They are now adorned with paintings and drawings of sea creatures and plenty of glitter!

The sculptures were formally opened this morning by the Mayor and Mayoress of Dartford, and will be on display until Sunday 25th September.

Dartford Arts Network would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made this project possible – including:

Ellandi / Project Dirt / The Priory Centre / Wickes Dartford / Dartford Borough Council / Mayor & Mayoress of Dartford, all our workshop participants and of course, all the DAN volunteers who have worked incredibly hard to make this a success. Thank you all. 

If you would like more information on how to get involved with future projects, or how to join up and become a member, please email us at hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com, message us on Facebook, or tweet us @dartfordarts

 

Filling the Tree!

A huge thanks to everyone who came to our public workshop in the Priory Centre on Saturday, we had a fantastic time and our plastic wishing tree is now looking beautifully full.

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We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the local shoppers, and barely had a quiet moment all day. The children loved it, and so did the adults – we even had some impromtu face painting from one dad who got stuck in!

So many beautiful and individual decorations were made for our tree – each one unique and carefully crafted by concentrated little minds. We have lots of stunning CD sun-catchers, dazzling as they spin and the light hits them, plastic elephants from milk bottles, plastic lid octopuses, plastic bottle tulips (which make great flowers for our tree branches!), yoghurt pot caterpillars, and much more. Some children went fully freestyle and one young chap created a beach scene within his yoghurt pots – very creative!

We chatted with people in our Ideas Workshop about where our plastic goes and how it can end up in the bellies of sea creatures through our mismanagement of waste. Our plastic bottle map helped us to convey this message, and was an eye-catching focal point to start a dialogue with passers by. One visitor was so moved by the images in our unit, that she immediately photographed them to share on social media in order to, as she said, ‘raise awareness’. This is exactly what we hoped for in creating this project, and being able to see the message about waste and recycling having an impact, both through art making and through discussion, was a great feeling.

We have another workshop coming up this Saturday 17th September. Same time (10am – 4pm) same place (Priory Centre Market Place).

Our first workshop was so successful that we used up most of the materials which we had collected for both workshops! We will be spending this week collecting more, but if you are planning to come along on Saturday and have any of the following at home going spare, please do bring them along – clean and dry please!.

  • Unwanted CDS
  • Plastic bottles (any type)
  • 2pint milk bottles

The map and tree sculpture will on display in the Priory Centre for a week following the workshop on Saturday. There will be an official opening by the Mayor & Mayoress of Dartford on the morning of 19th September at 10am. Do come and see your work be admired by the Mayor, and spread the word to friends and family.

See you on Saturday!

Plastic Prepping

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The Plastic Fantastic team have been hard at work beginning construction of the ‘Map’ sculpture in preparation for our first workshop coming up on 10th September at the Priory Centre in Dartford. We are using a currently empty unit to construct the sculptures and this will also be the site for our Ideas Workshop on the day.

The ‘making’ part of the workshops will take place in the central market hall area – our other sculpture will be a ‘Wishing Tree’ built from polypipe and at our workshops we will work with the public to create art objects from reclaimed materials which will then hang from the tree.

We are interested in the journey our plastics embark on when we discard them without recycling them. As it stands, in certain areas our oceans have more plastic in than zooplankton and it is predicted that if waste continues at the current rate, in 30 years there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish!

Our goal is to work directly with the public in creating a beautiful artwork which will educate as well as delight.

Come and explore our Ideas Workshop and find out what you can do to help, make a seashell windchime, a beautiful yoghurt pot caterpillar or paint a picture for our CD case display boxes. Or just come and have a chat about what we’re up to!

Creative workshops: 10th & 17th September, 10am – 4pm – Priory Centre Market Hall

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First Plastic Fantastic Workshop Success!

On 20th July we at Dartford Arts Network undertook an art workshop in preparation for our Plastic Fantastic project in September. Hosted by the Priory Centre in their Market Hall area, the workshop was attended by GCSE art students from Dartford Science and Technology College as part of their Community Day.

Our Plastic Fantastic project was originally intended to have 2 public workshops, both in September. But this was a chance for us to test the logistics of our workshop plan, employ some extra hands to help us to make the elements of our ‘map’ sculpture, and also to engage with the local community and make useful contacts.

We split the ten students in 4 groups and provided 4 separate workshop areas for varying tasks. These were as follows:

Workshop 1 – Filling CD case ‘vases’:
Sue brought along a number of pre-made plastic display cases made from old CD cases. The students were asked to either make a painting for the case, or to fill them with ‘found objects’ which they chose from a selection of plastic waste which Sue had beachcombed and collected. These cases will eventually be stacked to make a display wall behind the map.

Workshop 2 – Cardboard land contouring:
We brought along some pre-cut out areas of map and cardboard sheets with the layers marked out for creating the cardboard land contours of the map. The students were asked to carefully cut these out and being building up the layers.

Workshop 3 – Decoupage sea:
Students were taught how create sheets of beautiful blue decoupage (decorative collage) to build up the sea base of the sculpture.

Workshop 4 – Discussion / Feedback / Breakout
The students were encouraged to spend 10 minutes looking at material information and facts about the sustainable issues our project is trying to highlight. We then asked them to write/illustrate on paper how they feel about it, and to communicate thoughts and ideas they may have about it. The information we have gleaned from this can be used to inform our September workshops and perhaps be included in the final works.

There were 3 Dartford Arts Network workshop volunteers – Kate, Sue and Julie – as well as Alison Medd, the student’s art teacher. We were also lucky to be joined by Miriam Burke, an art researcher conducting her Phd on exploring sustainability through art.

Apart from being great publicity for the project and allowing us to test-run for our September workshops, the day was thoroughly enjoyable. The students were a joy to work with, getting fully involved and creating some wonderful pieces. The passing general public were very interested and enthusiastic about what we were doing, which is a positive sign going forward.

The next step is to continue putting together the elements of the map sculpture, ready for its display on 18th Sep, as well as focusing on preparing the Wishing Tree for the public workshops.

The two workshops in September will be open to all ages and abilities, and will centre around making decoration for the wishing tree (which will likely be made from waste pipe) which will be displayed somewhere in the local area after the workshops.

To find our more, or to sign up for the workshops, please email us at hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com

All images (c) Kate Withstandley Photography

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Dartford Assembly Project Update

Dartford Arts Network – Public Art Project from Dartford Arts Network on Vimeo.

Thank you to all of those who attended our workshops, and to the artists who are currently creating work. We’re really excited to be working with some talented artists and will be posting progress updates shortly! Please read our update below.

There’s still time to get involved – if you’d like to create a board (measuring 1.2m x 1.2m), please drop us an email at hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com.

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Earlier this year Dartford Arts Network [DAN] proposed a project to place work by local artists or on local themes on the hoardings at the Lowfield Street site. The idea had been floated by groups, individuals and on a number of social media forums and we felt that DAN was well placed to take the project forward. A proposal was made to Dartford Borough Council which threw its support behind the idea and offered resources for the project and also to act as mediator in seeking consent from the landowners. Landowners subsequently offered their support to the project, subject to a final approval of art and visuals to be installed!

The project was named ‘Dartford Assembly’ – with the aim of creating a work by ‘assembling’ numerous elements from multiple sources.

We want to update everyone, including artists, on where the project has reached so far, and what our next steps are in moving the project forward towards final sign-off and realisation.

The goal is to create an overall design for the first phase of this project – allowing scope for individual works, but bringing them together visually. To underlie this process, DAN have been undertaking the following research and development tasks in recent weeks in conjunction with developing an overarching design;

• During July and August four all-day workshops were run on alternate Saturdays at One Bell Corner and in the Orchards Shopping Centre. These introduced participants to a number of techniques, including mono-printing and collage, and were successful in involving local people of all ages in the creation of content, and the development of ideas, for the project.

• A campaign on Twitter and Facebook was also used to elicit quotes and memories from the local public.

• Artists were invited to put forward proposals for artworks to be included and featured in the final outcome.

• Most recently, a number of roughly 1m2 square boards have been offered to artists to create works which can also be added to the assembly.

• A short video is being produced which charts the design and execution of the work, and collects interviews with local people.

Of course, Lowfield Street is a site in transition and everyone, including the council and DAN, want to see a positive regeneration of the site. That’s good for Dartford but limits the life of the artwork on hoardings. We are approaching this by committing as much of the original and locally produced artwork as possible to boards that can be dismounted from the hoardings and which have the potential to be displayed elsewhere in the future.

The first steps demanded a combination of graphics and typography created and developed by the DAN team, publicly sourced content from the aforementioned workshops, local artists’ work captured and printed onto waterproof foamboard, or original works returned on the metre-square boards. The last of those will be sealed to protect them from the weather. These will extend along up to 82m of the hoardings, beginning adjacent to Barclays’ Bank and culminating just past the old Ripley’s Market.

We are now working towards producing the definitive representation of the finished piece for the landowner and community to see – not an easy challenge since it contains individual works from participating artists which have not yet been completed. By working closely with artists, creating visuals from the work in progress we are piecing that final design together.

All this may have taken a while but it has resulted in engagement with many, many people at public workshops and with artists with many different and interesting ideas. It has been a rewarding time.

This inter-play between the design work and the individual artists’ work-in-progress will result in an overall design which takes us to the really exciting step – the installation of the Dartford Assembly project on the hoardings. Our objective is for landowner sign off to be achieved as soon as we can submit our visuals.

During September those visuals are being developed in parallel with:

• Regular communication with participating artists about the content of their works – ideally collecting sketches and images of work in progress, or even of completed work, along the way

• Curation of the content from the summer workshops

• Development of the designs for graphics, typography and linking pieces.

This is a challenging creative and logistical task but we want Dartford Assembly to be something really special.

Finally, please don’t think that this project is now closed to new ideas from the community or local artists. It’s not. The Council have asked us to find ways to incorporate further designs, involve more artists and listen to more great ideas from local people. This gives us the opportunity to continue welcoming proposals from groups and individuals who may not have believed Dartford Assembly was for them. The Council has told us that it is open to new ideas – from street art to sculpture, from photography to poetry. All they ask is that the wider community are engaged and that artists work collaboratively and give support to each other and the project. If you are a local artist please do let us know if you would like to be involved in helping to produce more content for the project as it unfolds.

Contact: hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com

Dartford Assembly: Monoprinting Workshop

Last Saturday, Dartford Arts Network ran the first of their Dartford Assembly printmaking workshops. We got to One Bell Corner bright and early with bright flouro colour paints on hand. We tried to not get blown away by the wind! We asked everyone to tell us their favourite place, object or thing about Dartford, and finish the sentences, “I remember,” “Do you know…?” or “I Wish…”. It was great to see you all. Join us in two weeks for the next printmaking workshop!

Here are some images from the day.

Dartford Assembly: Bringing together your memories and visions of Dartford

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Dartford Arts Network & Dartford Borough Council are excited to launch Dartford Assembly – Bringing together your memories and visions of Dartford. As part of the project, we will create public artworks to go on the hoardings in Lowfield Street, Dartford.

Dartford Assembly is inviting artists, families & organisations to take part in creating public artworks at four workshops in Acacia Hall, Dartford – dates and times to follow.

We are also inviting proposals from individual artists, as well as organisations – including schools, colleges and community groups across Dartford.

To apply, visit this link: http://bit.ly/1LhTQ4d

OR send the following information to hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com

Name
Discipline (e.g. painting, photography)
Location
Do you live, work or study in Dartford?
Creative concept (up to 500 words)
Size of artwork (must be an A size – A4 to A0)
At least 1 sketch of your proposed artwork
OR a recent PDF portfolio of previous work, up to 10MB

To get updates, subscribe below or by sending an email to hello@dartfordartsnetwork.com with the subject “SUBSCRIBE”, or check back on our page to hear more!

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