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!
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.
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.
On Weds 18th July we worked with students from Dartford Science & Technology College to kickstart our new summer public art project.
This summer, Dartford Arts Network will be delivering a public art project both to delight the eyes and to raise important issues about the role of plastics in our environment.
Working in and with the Priory Centre, we will be holding 2 x public workshops in September to create three hanging sculptures which will hang from the ceiling of the market place area. These will highlight how our use of plastics affects marine life and our waterways and will aim to convey an action through message – recycle, re-use and look after your environment locally and nationally.
We need the residents of Dartford to help us create these sculptures through printing, painting, sticking, sewing and being generally creative!
Come along on 1st & 8th Sep to the central market hall area of the Priory Centre and get involved in a collaborative art project – all ages and abilities welcome!
Thank you so much to everyone who came to our Land Art event at Stone Fete on Sunday. It was a gloriously sticky summer day and a fabulous atmosphere at Stone Rec.
We arrived early to get our pitch as we had to have one on the edge (you’ll see why) and took our time getting set up while we chatted to neighbouring stallholders and watched the rally cars get into position.
After deciding to make a very basic starting design to give people an idea of what we were doing, we almost instantly began to get some interest from passing children. “how much does it cost?” they asked cautiously. “it’s FREE!” we replied with glee. “Get stuck in!”. Soon enough, kids of all ages (including very grown-up ones) were getting fully absorbed with the task, which was as enthralling to watch as to do.
It was a complete delight to see the differences in the participants; their way of thinking (it took a while before anyone decide to build UP), their type of design, and the levels of concentration and creativity. We deliberately didn’t give a lot of guidance; (the imagination of a child is far beyond what we could proscribe) and although some people initially asked us what they should do, within minutes they were doing far better by themselves. We also allowed the design to evolve, to ebb and flow throughout the day. People were reluctant to dismantle other artworks, but the nature of the activity is its change. It ended very differently from how it began, which was exactly the intention. A number of parents responded that they thought it was a great idea and that they would now be gathering materials in their garden to make their own sculptures. Part of our reason behind doing this was to leave people with a sense of ownership over it, that they can take the idea with them, re-use it, recreate it. You don’t need a studio of art materials to embrace creativity, you can do it anywhere around you.
Overall, we had a great time and chatted to hundreds of local residents, gathering feedback about what kind of arts event they would most like to see in the local area. Thank you so much to everyone who got involved. You lot are awesome!
All photographs (c) Kate Withstandley Photography. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for copies of images.