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The Dartford Assembly
June 1, 2016
The Dartford Assembly project was the first of its kind in the town with original art works on boards produced following a public call-out for artists, as well as collages from community workshops and local school and college contributions.
The central aim of the project was initially to kill two very significant birds with one stone: to provide a vehicle through which local artists could publicly display their artworks in the town, and to deliver a project which greatly enhanced the aesthetics of Lowfield Street for the general public.
The project was sparked by a grassroots appeal from a number of local residents and artists who felt the hoardings could host something creative until development on the site gets underway. The original idea of the project was to see local people having some impact on the appearance of Lowfield Street, creating something bright and positive and replacing the blank space which represented the impact of Tesco’s long occupation of the site.
Some took to Facebook and members of the Dartford Arts Network developed a plan for a public arts project that won the support of Dartford Borough Council. 13 individual artists contributed, as well as art students at North West Kent College, children at The Bridge Primary Community School, and 10 members of the public who produced collage and monoprint works at the public workshops we held over the 2015 summer at One Bell Corner.
The result, a 75m long outdoor gallery, was designed to stimulate the visual senses and showcase a small sample of the wealth of artistic talent which resides in our local area.
The high quality of work meant that the public reaction was overwhelmingly positive and the project’s aim – to bring more public art to the town, as well as to enhance the streetscape of the area – was more than fulfilled.
Dartford Borough Council were our partners throughout the project, with generous financial support, and in negotiations with the landowner. With the subsequent progression of works on the Lowfield Street site, the hoardings were replaced and the artworks removed with great care by Bellway’s groundworks team.
We were (are) determined that these fabulous artworks should continue as a legacy of the history of the Lowfield Street site development, as well as a lasting testament to the creative talents of the Dartford population, and so in September 2019 we arranged for the remaining artworks to be auctioned for the Ellenor Hospice, at the Dartford Lions’ Community Fayre. Many of the boards were sold at the auction, with local artists also donating handmade postcard artworks for sale too.
We still have a number of boards remaining available for sale, with proceeds going to the Ellenor Hospice. To find out more please see our Gallery of works.
“DAN have steered this project brilliantly and it’s a real demonstration of the talent we have in the town’ Dartford Borough Council Leader, Jeremy Kite
Dartford Arts Network was still in its early inception stages at that point and learning how to produce such a major project as we went along was a huge hurdle to overcome. Thankfully, we received some financial support from the council to make the project happen, but the logistical planning was immense; the time spent on design, artist liaison, landowner and council consultation, material production and site planning was overwhelming. All this was produced with a small group of local artist volunteers, each of whom was trying to (variously); do their day job, have babies, raise babies, have a life and do their own artwork. To say we are incredibly proud of, and grateful to, everyone who contributed, is an understatement.
Article on Kent Online about the project