Plastic Prepping


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

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


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.


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


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:

OR send the following information to

Discipline (e.g. painting, photography)
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 with the subject “SUBSCRIBE”, or check back on our page to hear more!

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May Day Celebration Saturday 2nd May 2015


Dartford Arts Network, working with Dartford Borough Council is pleased to present a May Day Celebration in Central Park in Dartford on 2nd May 2015.

Dartford Concert Band
Playing popular and traditional music

Vocalise Singing group
Led by Sandra Booer

Wadard Morris Men
Traditional song and dance

Richard Slater Charicatures
Drawing charicatures

Maypole Dancers
(Provided by Maypole School)

Dartford Art Group: Painting in the Park
“En Plein Aire” Competition:
Win £100 for the best art work!

What if…Gallery
Children’s Crafts Stall

Liz Burville Performing Arts

Arts and Culture in Dartford