ArtiGras 2015 news in pictures

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As you may all know, we have been busy merging the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise with a new Gallery and Studios – The Creative Collective – in Ashford’s Park Mall so we do apologise for the delay in posting so late after the festival.  We are busy putting a festival photo book together and we will let you know when it’s here so you can come and have a look. The Heart of Ashford has now been taken away but we are campaigning to keep it in Ashford so get behind us for this.  It was extremely popular when it was in Park Mall and we are happy to say lots of people used the crank to see the heart beat.

We would like to once again thank Phillip Long of Nagual Creations and Wren Jones for creating this amazing piece.  Phillip disappeared into the heart to make some essential repairs, it was fun watching …

We have closed the door to our building above Cafe Nero and we are now permanently based in Park Mall.  The Gallery looks amazing and filled with work by local artists of all ages so do pop in and have a look.  The opening event brought together over 100 guests and it was extremely successful.  Bear with us whilst we are putting together a calendar of events, workshops and courses to suit everyone. We are already beginning the planning for next year’s ArtiGras festival and have an amazing new theme so, if you have any ideas and/or would like to be part of it, please contact us by emailing info@thecreativecollective.gallery and we will be in touch. Hope to see you all here soon.  The Team

The Future of Creativity

Recently, the Guardian published an article about arts centres and their role in social care.  The article said: “Arts centres are not only havens for artists developing work, they also deliver cost-effective social impact and creative education”.  This was not a revelation for arts organisations such as the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise here in Ashford.  In fact, we see the impact that arts and crafts are having on people’s lives every day and receive many letters from past users to tell us of how their lives have been changed for the better.

We don’t do the work we do for the gratitude but we feel appreciated and know that the arts, and creativity in general, have a positive effect on mental well being and health.  Occupational therapists recommend it to all of their service users, and so do mental health teams and counseling services purely because creativity brings people together and out of isolation, builds confidence and resilience, and communities who understand each other and have empathy for each other. Continue reading

Celebrating Creative Ashford

ArtiGras @Centre for Creativity and EnterpriseBefore organising a festival, I never thought about the work that goes into it.  Last year’s Ashford Festival of Arts and Technology was an eye opener. For those who have never organised one, let me tell you that it is work that requires military precision and nerves of steel.  But we learnt a lot and I’m really glad we chose to do it.  The festival was a first, and despite not having done much promotion because of lack of enough organisers, funding and time, we managed to attract hundreds of visitors and have lots and lots of fun in the process.

So we decided to do more of them this year and the first one coming your way is ArtiGras which will take place on the 16th and 17th May in Ashford High Street.  Because we love Ashford and think it deserves the baddest festival ever, we’re throwing the biggest and best one ever yet.  But we can’t do this without you of course, residents of Ashford, community organisations, businesses and supporters.  There are already 20 or so stalls booked, amazing bands and performers on board, and lots of guys and gals making lots of amazing things to brighten the street. Continue reading

Hidden arty gem in the heart of town

The Centre for Creativity and Enterprise

The Centre for Creativity and Enterprise

In the centre of Ashford, Kent, there is a quaint gallery that houses amazing pieces of art by local artists.

Although it is a little hard to find – placed in the alley way between Mecca Bingo and the Spar -, it is one of two galleries in Ashford and houses over a hundred pieces of art, a number of sculptures, glass and wood carvings.  But it isn’t just a gallery.  The Centre for Creativity and Enterprise – a social enterprise – is also a craft shop which sells items such as dolls, handbags, jewellery, cushions and all sort of lovely crafts by either local makers or produced at the Centre.  It is a business hub and offers help to individuals who are planning to start their own business or are already operating a business.  On offer are workshops, courses and a room to let, advice, networking opportunities and a whole host of services to the community, be it business, creative or anyone needing a helping hand. Continue reading

Rebels with a Cause

Giving to a good cause need not be a hassle in this technological era.  Yet not enough people engage with the tools on offer because we think it is perhaps not time best used.  With good causes struggling to survive, especially the smaller and more local ones, there are ways to give that reward with special gifts and others that don’t involve money at all.  So why aren’t we signing up to them? Continue reading

PR professional helping handmade win in the high street

I met Emily through social media connections and I was so happy to know that there’s someone out there who’s passionate about creativity and is keen to use her skills to help local makers and artists promote their work. Emily will be delivering a series of workshops at the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise,  the first of which is entitled How to see your products in print. I’ll keep you posted on dates.  In the meantime, here’s what Emily had to say today:

“I’m Emily and I’m a freelance craft journalist and editor. I worked in the craft publishing industry for years and I’ve seen it grow from quite a niche hobby when I first started, to one of the fastest growing industries in the mainstream market. Now it seems everyone is interested in a little piece of craft! In my time I have written about so many different disciplines – name a craft and I’ve probably covered it at some point or another! Continue reading