Georgia on our minds …

Bauhaus Café CIC were thrilled to realise their dream of a youth exchange to beautiful and little-known Georgia for young creatives, again generously funded by Erasmus+.

The name was ‘Mind My Art, Would You?’ and was aimed at youths aged 18 to 30 from disadvantaged backgrounds to help support them to take their creative talents into employment.

Excited, yet dubious they came together as groups across eight countries; Georgia, Azerbaijan, The Ukraine, Cyprus, Turkey, Armenia, France and of course the UK and many met their participants the first time just before the trip, forging what they didn’t know then, would become some significant and lifelong friendships.

The French and UK team met on the plane and shared a hair-raising bus journey from the airport to Kobuleti. Strong bonds started forming immediately. The two groups arrived in the small hours in darkness to a lovely hotel on The Black Sea (that wasn’t black at all!). Each participant was allocated to a single sex room for three, each from a different country, so the interculturalism started from the outset.

Next morning, the new friends awoke to a miserable wet day but were astounded at the breath-taking views from the roof top dining room of The Black Sea to one side and snow topped mountains to the other. Waiting for the groups from the other countries to trickle in from near and far, the French and the English (later affectionately known as the ‘Frenglish’!) had the opportunity to explore the town, its markets, its multitude of thrift shops and of course the bars and cafes. The Georgian locals were absolutely delighted to come across the Western Europeans in their little town, eagerly taking selfies with them and inviting them for free shots of Cha-cha, the national brandy. Dances and music were even performed to the young people in shops, markets and bars amongst great hilarity and laughter.

In dribs and drabs the other groups arrived at all hours of the day and night and the job in hand was ready to begin. We had lots of icebreakers and energising games and everyone was encouraged to mix with different nationals fully. The lingua franca was English, but some participants struggled with this in the beginning, but as confidence grew and inhibitions dropped, the language barrier broke down. The talent grouped together in that building in tiny Kobuleti in modest Georgia was jaw dropping. There were artists, poets, photographers, musicians, actors, writers and much more. To have them all together in one space, especially as the inhibitions broke down, was truly electrifying.

The sun suddenly came out, the streets dried up, flipflops replaced boots, jetlag was slept off, the mood hit sky high, the sound of laughter, music, pen scratching, lenses clicking, and poetry filled the air and the youth exchange was well underway.

Workshops were diverse, interactive, creative and fun. They were run by different countries and were adapted to the needs and the wishes of the participants. Once everyone had integrated and talked about their fears and expectations, we launched into a wonderful day learning about social inclusion and multiculturalism especially in the creative arts. This was led by the Armenian group and it was fascinating to hear from all the different countries and the different approaches there towards the creative industries. Comradeships were quickly being formed and in between the activities there were regular impromptu trips to the close by beach where the common sounds were of waves crashing, laughter and music.

Every country was expected to put on a ‘cultural night’ where they were to immerse the other groups in their home land’s traditions, beliefs, costumes, history, dance, politics, art, music and of course food and drink. We were not disappointed and indulged all our senses night after night with delights and experiences from Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, The Ukraine, the Frenglish and of course Georgia. Georgia’s night was the climax as host country and we were taken to a local traditional restaurant where different dishes were continually brought to us and we were plied with Georgian wines (one of their major industries) and drinks. There was a toastmaster who led the feast known as a Tamadar and the eating and drinking was very structured by him.  The atmosphere was celebratory and then we were wowed by a young Georgian girl who floated around the dance floor like a swan as a Georgian young man danced around her in what seemed like a seduction ritual. Imagine our surprise when another young man leapt onto the dance floor out of nowhere and competed with the first for the attanetion of the ‘swan’!

Other workshops included how to attract the media, successful social media use, PR and marketing, vlogging, blogging, making vision boards and so much more delivered by Bauhaus Café CIC trainers. Everyone learned a lot from them, but they were not the most valuable of the whole experience, it was the networking and interaction between the different creatives from all cultures and all walks of life. Friendships were made for life, confidences were boosted, resolutions made, and lives were changed.

As young Naomi Houlton, photographer from Ashford said, “I was nervous in the beginning, but we had a few days to bond; we were all there for the same reason albeit from different cultures.  I have grown hugely in self-confidence. When I went back to my day job, they said I was a ‘changed woman!’ “

Bauhaus Café CIC is planning another exchange in the Spring with the same participants called ‘Six Months On.’ Here we will see how everyone has progressed in their chosen creative career following ‘Mind My Art, Would You’ climaxing in an exhibition and concert. Each member is already receiving ongoing support from Bauhaus Café and we know for example that Ashford based Naomi is doing some voluntary photography work, entering competitions and so on; definitely moving towards a paid career in photography. She has also appeared in local media. Boris MVD, from France has set up social media to platform his art and has had a successful exhibition. The success stories are pouring in and we are expecting many more. This exchange really has had a huge positive impact on so many.

If you are interested in getting involved in Bauhaus café and/or youth exchanges, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact us on info@bauhauscafe.co.uk and prepare to change your life!

We are grateful to all photographers present at the project for all the wonderful photos here and on our social media sites.

By Helena Maltby, Project Coodinator

More from Betsy, our CEO, in the next few days.  She will be talking about Georgia and why you may want to consider visiting and how our Georgian visit changed so many lives for all the partners involved.

 

New workshops coming soon

FREE Photo Clinic

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The FREE Photo Clinic with Doug Harman is the place to visit for anyone that has questions about photography.
If you have problems with your camera, you need advice on photography techniques or you have a set of images you’d like Doug to have a look over, assess and advise on, then do pop in for a chat.
Or you might want guidance on purchasing a new camera or lens or camera accessory, Doug will be on hand to help. Or if you simply want to come in, have a chat over all things photography, then we will see you between 10am and 2pm on 20th January 2018.

Just pop into Ashford Volunteer Centre.  Doug will see you on a first come first served basis.

Fore more details please email info@bauhauscafe.co.uk or call 07904 849600

 

Life Drawing Sessions

Every Thursday from 2pm to 4pm, Bauhaus Café CIC hold a life drawing class at Ashford Volunteer Centre.

We provide a professional model and the room; all you have to do is bring your own materials.

We offer refreshments and support to develop your drawing skills.

The workshop is for those who are familiar with drawing.

The cost per session is £10.  Students only pay £7.

Fore more details email info@bauhauscafe.co.uk or call 07904 849600

Taster Art Class

On Monday 5th February, Bauhaus Café CIC is offering a taster art workshop from 2pm to 4pm at Ashford Volunteer Centre.

We will supply all the materials and refreshments, just come and try your hand at drawing, watercolours, and acrylics and have fun.

The cost of the session is £5.

Fore more details email info@bauhauscafe.co.uk or call 07904 849600.

French Conversation Class

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Did you study French at school but have not had the opportunity to practice?  Do you love visiting France but find speaking difficult? Would you want to learn to converse in French and be able to get by when you visit France?

Bauhaus Café CIC is holding a French conversation taster class on Wednesday 31st January from 7pm to 9pm at Ashford Volunteer Centre.

The cost for the class is £5 and refreshments are available.  Just bring a note book and yourself.

For more details please email info@bauhauscafe.co.uk or call 07904 849600.

Photography Workshop with best selling Photographer Doug Harman

Do you want to learn more about photography and how you can improve your camera skills and photo-technique? Yes? Then why not sign up for the one-day photo workshop today for just £55 per person.

Workshop Learning Aims
The aim of the workshop is to help you get to grips with some of the more advanced features on your camera and improve your general photography skills and all are welcome. While the course is aimed at the beginner to intermediate in terms of experience, we cater to those that want to improve their snapping skills on any camera or device, yes, even your smartphone. You’ll have a familiarisation session where you’ll go through the camera settings and which are going to help your photography progress. Then you’ll be shown some tips and tricks that will help you to get better shots too.
Then you’ll go out and do a practical shoot using the tips and techniques discussed earlier on putting into practice the things learned, all the while being expertly guided by best selling photographer, Doug Harman.

After the Shoot
Once the shoot is over, we will return to base and look over your photographs and then do some basic image editing on PC or your smart device and finally, print out your best image. The workshop starts at 09:30 and finishes at 16:30.What is included in the day:• Expert guidance and tuition• Refreshments are included throughout the day.• Printing facilities
What you’ll need to bring:
• A camera or smart device• Your laptop (or suitable tablet or smart device)• A packed lunch (refreshmants such as teas and coffees are included)• Notebook, memory card with plenty of space.
The Workshop Agenda
09:30 – Introduction:1/ Talk over your camera2/ Camera and photo basics3/ Controlling colour and white balance5/ Handling and menus and camera set up
Creative Effects:
• Apertures and Shutter control: Why and what do they do?• Aperture priority for depth of field control• Shutter priority for motion/blur control
Composition:
• Framing – Fill the Frame.• Portrait or landscape format• Composition• Focal length, how it affects the shot and avoiding camera shake.
11:30 – Practical Location shoot:
• Street Photography and Candids
13:30 – Half hour for Lunch (not included)
14:00 – Image Download and Editing with “how to’s” on:
• Sharpen your images• Brighten your images• Convert images to black and white• Filter effects• Printing
15:30 – Picture assessment, Q&A and print a couple of your favourites from the day.
16:00 – Ends.

Buy your tickets here: http://www.dougharmanphotography.com/product/bauhaus-cafe-photography-workshop/

For more details email info@bauhauscafe.co.uk or call 07904 849600

Cyprus here we are

Georgina and I were in Larnaca for ten days taking part in a Youth Exchange project with @stressballCY #improveyourself, and we couldn’t contain our excitement. Cyprus was beautiful and we enjoyed warm weather. Our accommodation was on the sea front, we were really lucky. The Flamingo Hotel and Resort was a great place to be spending time learning and enjoying Larnaca.

The project idea was to share cultural skills, knowledge and attitudes in order to have a rich common experience.  A number of volunteers from the UK and other European countries were there with us.  We were keen to share our experiences and knowledge and learn from other participants what makes a valuable volunteering journey. We met participants from Roumania, Spain, Macedonia, Estonia, Georgia and Cyprus. The group’s youngest was 16 years old.

We shared our days together participating in structured exercises that promoted reflection, creation and sharing of ideas and knowledge which helped with development and growth. Evenings were set aside for outings and enjoyment. The town of Larnaca had many bars and restaurants to enjoy a night out. Frozen yoghurt seemed to be pretty popular, it would be interesting to find out why?

As luck would have it, we were invited to meet the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, at the Presidential Palace where he took time to speak to representatives from a number of NGOs in Cyprus.  We were then treated to a presidential buffet and had the opportunity to migle and speak to very interesting NGO representatives.  We had the pleasure of seeing some very interesting works of art at the Palace too.

We took part in exercises for first days to learn more about each other and our cultures.  The project aimed to address youth employment and mobility by teaching communication, entrepreneurship, life and basic skills, digital and social competence, communication skills and cultural skills to motivate young people and help them become more employable. Our research showed that only one other organisation that we could locate in Kent participates in Youth Exchange projects, and Georgina and I aim to change this. Although the future of funding for the UK after Brexit is uncertain, we are keen on developing and participating in as many Youth Exchange projects as we can, and encourage Kentish youth to take part. We’re particularly keen on finding out how NGO’s abroad tackle youth unemployment. Youth unemployment in Cyprus is among the highest in Europe along with Spain, France, Italy and Turkey.

We were amazed at the amount of creativity that we saw and learnt a lot about how youth in different countries perceive and express themselves in everyday life, what their dreams and aspirations are, and how they go about learning skills. We hope to be able to do a comparative study of Youth Exchange take up between the UK and other countries in Europe (showing how participants experience the exchange, what they feel they have gained and how it helps them with education and careers) and create a number of  creative Youth Exchange projects, predominantly using music, arts and creativity,  inviting youth from around Europe to visit and learn in Kent. After all Kent has so much to offer in that respect, and is only an hour away from London, which could be very appealing to creative young people from abroad.

It’s been really wonderful to hear different languages and experience other cultures, learn new words, find out about some truly extraordinary careers and work that people around the word do (I met a young lady who is at university studying for a Masters in crypto currency law/regulation, how interesting).

We would like to thanks Yiannis Kanaris of Stressball CY for hosting the project and making our trip a very enjoyable and educational one and we hope to participate in future projects in Cyprus.

We left buzzing with ideas of projects we would like to deliver here in the UK and abroad and we are now working on a number of them.  If you’re interested in helping, or in traveling and learning new skills, please contact us to find out how HERE.

More about our projects and plans later.  For now, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and ask you to spare a thought for those who will be out in the cold or alone this time of year.  Love and blessings. Betsy and Georgina.

Bauhaus Cafe going pop up

Well friends, after a few years of us working in Ashford town centre, we have decided to go pop up.

As difficult as it may be to let go, it’s sometimes necessary to make some tough decisions. When the Cafe took a space in the old Merchant Chadler’s building, we believed that local businesses and small traders will be taking up space with us and we were very excited to be able to work with them to make the space really successful by offering live music events, teas, coffees, cakes, snacks and sandwiches and a number of local artists a space to exhibit their work.  Sadly, this was not to happen.  Despite all of our hard work, we were unable to continue delivering the projects that we had planned due to restrictions, our inability to obtain a license to serve alcohol independently of the building, and the difficulty in co-existing with what was on offer here.

In the seven months that we traded here, we delivered very successful weekly music events that, more often than not, were very well attended;  a number of exhibitions and sold a large number of pieces of local art; ran a number of creative writing and other workshops (including photography, arts classes and life drawing sessions); raised awareness of local issues; worked with a number of independent businesses and schools; hosted a number of school and university students on work placement; worked with 10 volunteers using the space to gain motivation and work experience for future careers and created an even larger creative community in Ashford by making introductions and holding networking events.  Here are pictures of some of them:

 

The Cafe will now continue as a pop up and we will be holding exhibitions, events, worskshops and courses.  We are teaming up with Ashford Volunteer Centre on Elwick Road and we’ll be using the meeting room to hold the workshops and courses.  So we’re not going away, just working in a different way.

We’ve also made the decision not to run ArtiGras Festival this year and have booked the weekend of 19th and 20th May 2018 to deliver an even bigger and better festival for the town centre so watch this space.  The theme for the festival will be ‘One Big Circus’.

For now, we’ll be out and about working in the community so watch out for Francesca Baker, Anthony Stiffell and the rest of team as they go about organising creative workshops, and music events alongside other spaces and organisations.  Subscribe to our newsletters or blogs to find out more and to know where we will be next.

We’ll be back with more news soon.  For now, our gratitude goes to those who have supported the project in any way, for the kind words and all the messages of support.

The Team, Bauhaus Cafe CIC

 

 

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.