All too often residents of Ashford talk about how so many shops are closing in the town centre and how there is no life left here. On one occasion, a comment was made in the local newspaper that the heart has been ripped out of Ashford. we’d like to disagree with that statement and say that, in fact, Ashford has a lot of heart, and a great number of caring, passionate and talented individuals. Talent’s not always expressed in a conventional and expected way but, then again, Ashford is by no means a conventional town.
So a number of shops are closing but Ashford has the ability to keep going and flourishing. Despite some negative views of our town, there are a number of people who, openly or behind closed doors, are working hard to build up the creative scene, and creative means a number of things: film, theatre, dance, music, art and much more.
If you were at Ashford Festival in the Park just recently, you would have been extremely impressed by the variety and quality Ashford bands offered. The Festival raises money for Ashford Youth Theatre. Festivals like ArtiGras in the town centre also attract a number of amazing bands, performers, volunteers, makers and artists. However, the problem we may be having is that we are not very good at communicating with each other, and that is being remedied as we get to know each other better and work together to ensure that there is no replication or that dates of local events don’t overlap. There are also a number of great venues to express local creativity. Emporia Fabric and Crafts have now moved to Park Mall with larger premises, they also run a number of crafty workshops. A new Cafe and art space, Authentic Expressions, has now opened its doors in Bank Street. We wish them all the best of course and we will be finding out more about them with a visit soon.
On Saturday 25th July from 7pm to 8pm, Revelation St Mary’s will be hosting Kinbaku, a unique live immersive arts experience. KINBAKU merges dance, digital and live music together, creating an installation performance piece for audiences to come inside, walk around and react to – creating an unusual and amazing new eco system in the nave of the church. Watch a video about the experience HERE. And Create, Ashford’s music festival, at Victoria Park is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Sunday 26th July from 11:30am to 9pm. You can find out all the details of the festival goings on HERE.
We’re putting together a calendar and you’ll soon be able to see, at a glance, what’s going on where. For this, we’ll need some help so we ask that everyone sends us a list of their courses, workshops and events to add to the creative calendar.
As for us, the Gallery is filled with art by local artists of various disciplines. More and more young artists are taking the initiative too and getting involved with the creative scene but it is up to all of us to support them and make them feel valued.
We are organising an art fair on Saturday 26th September so if you are an artist and would like a stall for the day, or would like to find out more, HERE is the link you’d need to visit. In the evening, the gallery is being taken over by a large group of young people, 18 to 25 years old who are organising a private event, EXPOSED, so please come in great numbers and show them your support at The Creative Collective, 16 Park Mall.
Guess that’s it for now but if there are any events we haven’t mentioned, please reblog and mention it. Meanwhile, do keep supporting arts and creativity in our town because we are here for you to enjoy.
Thanks and enjoy the sunshine. The Team