Melissa’s blog ‘Why I Love Ashford, Kent’ (you can read it HERE if you haven’t already) inspired me to look at some of the positive things that the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise has brought to Ashford. There are days when we’re all a little tired because running a charity isn’t an easy task, and negativity takes over. But there are better days when we are confident about the future and, the projects and plans we have, and all we’ve achieved in the last 7 years and it makes me proud to be a part of this creative movement. It’s given me the opportunity to meet some wonderful and talented people who really love this town and are working with us to make it fun, artistic, colourful and happy.
The CCE started trading from St John’s Chambers almost a year ago. A stunning mural on the wall of the back entrance, designed and drawn by three very talented ladies – Ascension Lorente Huguet, Glynis Thomson and Jennifer Hedley – was only the start of a number of murals we have delivered, and continue to deliver, since last year.
Since then, a few pieces have been developing around town. Muralist Sam Cox’s dazzling mural outside of the Press Rooms Bistro is a stunning piece of artistry. Young Sam is a master muralist, illustrator and designer and he will go very far … I am positive. Meanwhile, we are blessed with having him on board.
Inside the Press Rooms, Samantha Quinn is busy producing a replica of the interior on a wooden room divider. So far, it looks like this but it is nearly finished. Sam’s a muralist who’s produced a number of pieces of work scattered around Kent to be proud of and this one’s no exception:
Eric Boadu is an accomplished artist. He works with acrylic and has produced a varied range of pieces which can be seen at the CCE and around Ashford. Eric had never produced a mural, but there’s always a first time for everything so when we offered a blank wall, he was keen and eager to try. Here is the result. It is not yet completely finished and he has another very long wall to cover but it is looking smart, slick and quirky. This again is the outside seating area of the Press Rooms:
Around town, more and more people are recognising the good work we do and want to join the collective. One organisation’s work and ethos in particular has deeply touched me. Wood N Ware are based in Henwood Industrial Estate and teach carpentry skills to individuals with learning disabilities. Andy and Lou deeply care about people and Ashford and want to make a difference. We are really pleased that they’ve said yes to making benches for our September festival, Ashford Festival of Arts and Technology ,which takes place on 27th and 28th September. They’ve produced a number of amazing pieces which we’ll be auctioning off to raise money for their organisation and our festival. Keep an eye out for our auction pages coming soon, and here’s a taste of what you could be taking home with you Your children will certainly love it, as I’m sure you will:
Around town, a number of businesses are now hosting local art (and supporting the work of the CCE) such as Jame’s Place, where you can view work by David Hover; the Auction House Bar, the recently opened bar in New Street, where you can view work by Eric Boadu, Laurence Muspratt and a number of photographs by members of the Ashford Photographic Society. and Bobbinski’s Tattoo Parlour which is host to Marcia Young’s lovely paintings. And the list is growing. We are also planning projects with a number of charitable organisations in Ashford and will keep you posted about these very very soon.
Of course we’re always looking for more blank canvases, indoors or outdoors. So if you like our work and would like us to do one for you, send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or maybe you would like some nice local art on your blank walls, I am sure we can find something to suit your taste.
In September, Steve Bloom, world renowned writer and a photographic artist who specialises in evocative images of the living world is joining the Trustees of the CCE and a number of invited guests in support of our work for an evening of Champagne and canapes . We feel honoured by his support and look forward to the evening.
So what do you love about Ashford, Kent, Melissa asks? … Well, the amazing people we work with, the organisations who do wonderful work to make a difference and who aren’t interested in recognition and taking credit for what they do – and mostly go unnoticed. Instead, they care about the people of Ashford, those the town is all about, those that are less fortunate, and those who need a gentle push, a listening ear, loving arms … Despite a number of empty shops in town, Ashford has a lot of potential and is going places. However, for it to get there it needs cohesion, collaboration, partnership .. but, most of all less hostility, individualism and false arrogance, more vision and intelligent design, with a touch of selflessness, compassion and empathy . It’s about the bigger picture, and there can’t be a bigger picture if it there’s only one artist painting the picture …
If you believe in our town and want to work together to make it a great place to live, to work and to learn, then join the collective, start conversations and projects together and, most of all, remember it’s not about one individual, it’s about the prosperity of the town as a whole, a concept that some don’t understand and others don’t care much about. Thankfully, there are enough who do and will work together to achieve results.
What else do I love about Ashford? The quaint little streets; the Churchyard; the festivals, pop ups and events that people work so hard to organise, and mostly without any financial rewards; AHBS, our local radio; the abundance of local talent; the independent businesses who have had to work really hard to stay afloat but persist; Victoria Park and the beautiful countryside that surrounds us to name a few. I am proud to be part of the town, its present and future. It’s been tough but we’ve hung on. I for one don’t give up easily so you will see more of me around, for a while anyway.
Betsy Aidinyantz, CEO
Centre for Creativity and Enterprise