Art & Coffee in a new venue

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Well, it’s been a long while since our last blog and we do apologise for that.  We were busy planning our new venture and moving out of our premises in Park Mall.  We’re now all settled and are open for business.

The gallery in Park Mall, although a wonderful space for art and creation, was never really the right venue for us.  We felt we needed a space that would allow visitors to enjoy tea or coffee, have a bite to eat and be able to take time to view the lovely work by local artists without having to rush to the door.  Well, we believe we’ve achieved just that with our venture, Bauhaus Cafe & Art Gallery.

The Cafe/gallery is situated on the first floor of the old Merchant Chandler’s building in Ashford (2 North Street).  The whole building has gone through a lot of loving care and is looking fabulous.  We are one of a number of tenants in what is now called The Collection Ashford.  The art has moved in with us too and many of our artists are the same but we also have new artists who’ve joined the gallery to display their work.

The Cafe is a CIC (Community Interest Company) and is a hang out for artists, musicians, techies and budding entrepreneurs.  Wi-Fi is free, but Saturdays are our Wi-Fi free days so we leave our phones behind and, instead, make new friends and work on ideas and projects together.

As I am writing this blog, Bisal is playing his bass, and Michael is designing our very first quarterly magazine.  They are both part volunteers. part paid staff.  We’re just had our first live music evening with Dulcie May Moreno in this awesome space. The event is one of many we will be running, and is funded by The National Lottery Celebrate programme.

Here are some pictures of our new space.  We’ll be back soon and tell you more about our evening, our menu, special offers, events and ArtiGras, our May festival.

We look forward to welcoming you here.  The Team

 

Summer at the gallery

It’s been a very busy year for the gallery with a number of exhibitions and two festivals – ArtiGras 2015 and 2016, an art fair in September last year, a Mad Hatters Tea Party, an exhibition to celebrate the music of The Beatles, and South East Open Studios for the first time, and much much more since we opened in May last year. We have decided to have a quite summer so that we can all recuperate and work on the amazing events coming up in the Autumn.

Since opening, we’ve had over 80 artists exhibiting art and photography; 100 or so volunteers working on a number of projects: have shown 8 independent films which have led to meeting wonderful, talented directors who’ve  joined us at the gallery and spoken about heir work; we’ve made many new friends in the community; have worked with talented musicians who have performed at our festivals; have collaborated with a number of local schools as well as Ashford college and been part of the success stories of some of our exhibitors.

We have also become part of a tight knit community of independent traders who have now joined us in Park Mall, namely Happy & Glorious, GlamRUs, Made in Ashford, Emporia Fabrics and Crafts, and very recently Snap Jewellery. We are very proud of the success of our projects and truly grateful for the dedication of our volunteers who are mainly young people; they’ve shown so much dedication, passion for their community and talent. We want to thanks them for being part of The Creative Collective family.

All of our marketing materials, posters, flyers, music stages, props, decorations, event and special photography are designed and produced by very talented creative young people so think about us if you’re starting a business or need materials for an event or project. We do offer value marketing and branding solutions to the community to help and promote the work and value of self employed creatives connected to the gallery. Here are some examples:

To make the summer a little more exciting, We are offering children’s Arty Sessions from 10am to 12am very Monday and Wednesday in August.  These are for children 8 years and over to produce projects over two days so they would need to attend the Monday and Wednesday of a week of your choice.  We also offer Saturday children’s art drop in sessions from 11am to 1pm, for children 10 years and older.

We have lots of exciting projects coming up from September so do subscribe to our newsletter if you’d like to know what is happening.

For now, a massive thanks to all of our volunteers, guests, followers, supporters and the very talented musicans and artists we work with. We wouldn’t still be here without all of you. We are now off to Ashford Festival in the Park to support a great cause and enjoy more local talent.  Have a lovely weekend all.  The Team

Festival goes out with a bang …

 

The ArtiGras festival brought two days of magic, music and fun to Park Mall.  Visitors flocked in to see local bands and performers and shop from a number of local makers and artists.

The festival was officially opened by the Phoenix Primary and Herne Bay Primary Schools Samba Band led by Matt Miles.

Local musicians included Harry Hayes, Orfila, Bottles, Black Roses, Invicta Jazz Orchestra, Jim McDonald, Nathan J Walker, Rude Albert and of course Ashford Folk.  There were amazing performances by the children and young people of TheatreTrain Ashford, Live2Dance and LCA Dance Academy, and The ArkWrights Appalachian cloggers.

Students from Ashford College and The North School made sculptures and art for the festival which was displayed at The Creative Collective and in Park Mall.  One dragon made by Jay Amin of Wood N Ware watched over the proceedings.

The music stage backdrop was designed by volunteer and architecture student Milan Limbu and decorated and painted by a group of volunteers in the gallery.

Nathan J Walker on the Bandstand.

The Arkwrights performing the clog dancing we all love so much with guest James Dawkins on his double bass.

Black Roses performing in Park Mall Shopping Centre

A community canvas outside the gallery gave everyone the opportunity to contribute and paint the canvas which is now displayed at The Creative Collective.

The final band of the festival, Rude Albert entertained us until closing time.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Ashford Cllr. George Koowaree & Mrs. Gloria Champion dropped in unexpectly which was a wonderful surprise as the newly elected officials saw first hand the talent of local musicians and performers and spend time meeting stall holders, shop owners and visitors.

The festival ended with a Pinata, made by local young artist Emily Lomax, AKA ‘Weaselspit’ who works with Ashford Young Artists at The Creative Collective.

Our very own Thomas Sharrock spent most of his time going around with the bucket and raise over £150.

Our main sponsors The Auction House Bar raised money for future events selling beers and refreshments in a Bar Tent.

It was a wonderful event and everyone looked happy.  We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our festival and hope that more local bands, groups and performers will participate next year.

All photographs are by our young photography students Louise Hardy and Priyash Gurung and we are grateful to them for spending the whole day snapping photos.  Some photos were also taken by Jim Ashby.

The festival was made possible by funding from KCC members Councillors Derek Smyth, Jim Wedgbury and Mike Angell and we are grateful for their generosity.

The theme for next year is ‘One Big Circus’. If you would like to get involved, please call us on 01233 421589 or email us artigras@thecreativecollective.gallery.

Free Writing for Wellbeing Workshop

As part of Voluntary Arts week, and to kick off events before our ArtiGras Festival on Friday May 20th and Saturday May 21st, The Creative Collective is running a FREE Writing for Wellbeing workshop for all ages on Saturday 14th May.

The workshop will be facilitated by Francesca Baker.  Francesca is a journalist and event organiser and is passionate about writing and has previously delivered a succesful writing workshop at the Collective.  To find out more about Francesca visit her website HERE.

Come and join us for what promises to be an amazing workshop, from 10:30am to 12:30pm on 14th May at The Creative Collective.  Although the workshop is FREE we would appreciate if you could book HERE so that we can organise ourselves.

Thanks.  The Team

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The Beatles – More than an exhibition

What an amazing and inspiring evening.  The open viewing of the Beatles exhibition attracted over 200 visitors, parents, artists and schoolchildren to The Creative Collective on Friday 25th March.

The Mayor of Ashford, Councillor Geraldine Dyer, congratulated the organisers, the artists and the North School teachers and students, for the hard work that they did to make this exhibition succesful and pledged her support for the Collective.  We are grateful to the Mayor and we will be donating Beatles themed art to be auctioned off at the Mayor’s Ball in May in aid of her two charities: Pilgrims Hospices and Find A Voice.  For more information about the event contact the Mayor’s Office HERE.

We would like to thank The Mayor of Ashford Councillor Geraldine Dyer and the Mayor’s Consort Brian Dyer who took the time to speak to everyone on the night, Ken and Mark for playing the music of the Beatles on the night, the artists of all ages, the teachers, students and parents of The North School, the visitors and supporters, and the volunteers who helped out to make the night a huge success and, without whom, the Collective would not exist.  A special thanks to The Music Shop – James and Keely – who donated the raffle 1st prize; Sam Cox, Ashford’s very own Doodle Man for his live doodle of the Beatles which is now being auctioned HERE;  Jeni Crowley who travelled on the legendary Magical, Mystery tour with The Beatles for being here and giving her time to talk to everyone: and John ‘Webbo’ Webster and Steve Monk of Radio Ashford for all of their support, interviews and music of the Beatles during the time of the exhibition.  The Beatles themed artwork will be in the gallery until 10th April so come and have a look and enjoy Ashford’s talent.  If you’re a musician and would like to play some Beatles tunes, The Music Shop have set up a drum kit and two guitars in the gallery, just pop in and play when we’re open.

We hope you enjoy the pictures of the night.  Do pop in and say hello, or join our community.  Many thanks.  The Team

 

 

We got by with a little help from our friends

What a wonderful weekend it was.  The sun was shining and there was music in the air.

The idea to have a day of live music and entertainment in Park Mall Shopping Centre for Mother’s day came up at a meeting for ArtiGras festival. Of course, it was a last minute decision so it was difficult to put together our plan of having the event outdoors. It had to be done in the gallery so the wonderful James Dawkins of Humana Studio stepped in and made it happen.

Donations came in quickly for raffle prizes.  The Park Mall community pulled together and saved the day. Helen of GlamRUs Accessories, Katie of Happy & Glorious, Melissa of Aye Aye and other small businesses Flossy Watts, and Mini Medley (who are all selling their wares in the Made in Ashford unit at the moment), and Louis of Savers helped raised £40 towards ArtiGras Festival and future events in Park Mall.

Sadly, the business owners themselves could not be with us and enjoy the day because, like many self employed or small business owners, they run solo so can’t afford luxuries like days off although we did catch a glimpse of Katie (Happy & Glorious) dancing to the tunes of Bottles from our window, it was fun. We’re grateful for their donations.  If you’re ever in or around Park Mall do visit and support these lovely local treasure troves of handmade or British made goodies.

On the day, we were joined by Ashford Folk, The Arkwrights (Appalachian Clog Dancers), Jim McDonald and Bottles. Children and young people gathered around the table and made their own Mother’s Day cards, even some of the adults tried paiting (including Doug Harman, Ashford’s very own best selling photographer).  The atmosphere was amazing and everyone joined in for a bit of folk dancing too.  Here are some pictures of the day.

Our next event is The Beatles Exhibition and we are working hard to make it very special.  If you know any artists who would like to submit work, please give them our details.  The exhibition starts othe 21st March, with a private view and live music – songs by The Beatles – The Beatles Antology on big screen and some surprises in store for you on Friday 25th March from 6pm so do come and enjoy it with us then.

Many thanks, The Team

A Creative Year in Pictures

As 2015 is nearing its end we’d like to share some of the fabulous things that have happened at The Creative Collective.

In the 7 months we have been in our new space in Park Mall Shopping Centre, we’ve held a festival, ArtiGras, in May; in September we started our very successful film (Visual Treats) and poetry (Poetry Jam Sessions) nights; we’ve had a number of learners attending our art and creative writing courses; organised a number of exhibitions namely Alan Chapman, EXPOSED, Marshian Landscapes and VISIONS; participated in the Warnborough College Conference on the Arts; held an Art Fair in September; exhibited work by over 50 local artists; were joined by 15 talented young artists who regularly volunteer at the gallery; produced a calendar for charity; formed a number of creative partnerships and held some great events. So here are some photographs of our time here so far for you to enjoy:

ArtiGras 2015

Exhibitions:

Warnborough College Conference on the Arts 2015:

Art Fair September 2015:

Mad Hatters Tea Party, December 2015

Hope you’ve had some fun looking at our pictures, maybe you even saw a snap of yourself at one of our events.  We’ve had an amazing time and are looking forward to doing more of it in 2016. So come join us and help us create bigger and better events.  We have some exciting things planned for you all.  We’d like to thank everyone who has been with us and helped this year in any way, too many to name.  We really love and appreciate every single one of you.

We’d like to take the opportunity to wish you a happy New Year.  May 2016 be the best year so far.  Hope to see you at one of our events.  The Team