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.

Dystopia: The Exhibition so far

We’re happy to say that the Dystopia Exhibition has had a lot of positive reviews so far.  We are very proud and honoured to be exhibiting work by more local super talented artists and we hope you can all come and have a look before the 20th March when we will be replacing the work for the new Exhibition: The Beatles.

Our visitors have left some comments in our exhibition book and here are some of their views of the collection:

DC: “Thought provoking, rarely have I seen such thoroughly original work in an Ashford gallery”

DL: “A lot of hard work and talent on show”

D: “Great to see so much talent, long may it continue”

Here are some photos of our Private Viewing which was very well attended.  We sold a few pieces of work and hope to sell some more before the end of the exhibition.

Thanks to all of those who attended and who continually support the work we do at the gallery.  Don’t forget our next exhibition is The Beatles and starts on Monday 21st March. As usual a lot of work has gone into organising the exhibition and many of Ashford’s school children and Ashford College students will be exhibiting as well as local artists of all ages.  We have some surprises for you too so please put the date in your diary.  More about this later of course.

The Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dystopia: The Exhibition

From Monday February 15th, The Creative Collective is hosting an art exhibition entitled Dystopia.

There are many definitions for Dystopia, here are some of them:

‘A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterized in books like Brave New World and 1984. Dystopian societies feature different kinds of repressive social control systems and various forms of active and passive coercion. They are often imagined as police states, with unlimited power over the citizens. Fictional dystopias are often set in the future and involve technological innovations not accessible in actual present reality’

‘A society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding’.

‘An imaginary place where everything is as bad as it can be’.

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Ashford Young Artists and The Creative Collective wanted to give artists of all ages the opportunity to create work that would reflect what could be our own interpretation of dystopian society as we work so hard to create change through art and creativity.

The work is very strong and meaningful and we hope that visitors will take their time to look at the paintings and make some observations and comments in our exhibition book.  There will be a private viewing with drinks and nibbles on Friday 19th.  You can meet the artists and talk to them about their work from 6pm to 8pm so please come and join us then.

Here are some teasers:

We look forward to seeing you here.  The Team

 

Business networks help local business growth

 

 

Betsy working late

Me working late on a Saturday

Sitting here late at night, doing work and updating social media content, I see from my chat tab, and the many posts coming through, that my fellow self employed are working late too.  Whether it is a wise thing to do or not – and some time management gurus may suggest it’s not – more and more of my fellow creatives, makers and home run business are up all hours of the day in the spirit of driving our businesses forward.

OK so we’re starting our own revolution and it is all about making local and handmade what people buy into in our towns, or at least some people anyway.  What I’m witnessing is that it’s working, however slow and painful it may be. And what’s even more amazing is that we’ve all become each others’ helpers and marketeers … and, by definition, support networks. Continue reading

Women Give Something Back

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Women Give Something Back

When a couple of big personalities with big ideas and even bigger hearts get together to give something back, you just know something game changing is going to happen. The founders of Women Give Something Back are innovation and creativity junkies, a soft touch when it comes to seeing other women suffering and business gals with a conscience.

We know there are many women like us who care about the glass ceiling, well being and safety of women and opportunities for every girl and woman to live a happy, safe and abundant life. We know that there are many women silently suffering, needing the support and chance to make a change. Continue reading