Live music at the Gallery

The Creative Collective is now an established arts venue in Ashford offering exhibitions, events, film and poetry nights, volunteering and work experience opportunities and a hub for creative networking and collaborative working.

More recently though, live music, or jam sessions, have become part of our daily lives.  This is essentially thanks to young musicians who grace the gallery with their talent on occasion.  Ashford has a magical music scene with a great number of bands who regularly play in pubs, bars and events.  From what we have seen, it is a tight knit community of talented musicians of all ages and they make Ashford more of a great place to live and be.

With regular live performances and Open Mic and Jam nights at a number of venues across the town such as the George Pub, The Windmill Inn,  the Auction House Bar, there’s plenty for every taste.

Recently, we were introduced to a group of five local young musicians.  They are Himali Blues and we’d like you to take the time to get to know them and  listen  to their music on their website because they have a lot to say and their message is about compassion, friendships and community.  They have just recently released their EP and are looking forward to bigger and better things to come.  The EP will be on sale at The Creative Collective from next week so come and buy your copy here and support them.

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We’ve never seen a group of young men so energetic, so passionate and so keen to take their music to another level.  They’ve attracted crowds of supporters, volunteers to help with their journey, and lots and lots of fans around them.

Oh, and how about checking out the guitar that Anmol is using in the band. It’s been pimped by Stan Hollingworth so, if you fancy having your guitar get a makeover, visit Stan’s Page and send him a message or just pop into the Gallery and we will give you all the details you need.

So if you’re a local band and would like to jam in the gallery do get in touch. If you would like to join us and play at next year’s ArtiGras Festival in May, do let us know as we are starting to recruit. And if you need help with your journey, come and see us and we will help you as much as we can and steer you in the right direction.

Meanwhile, do pop in and say hello. We’re always keen to help.

Take care.  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.

The Beatles event: A Volunteer’s perspective

Sebastian Lacey is a member of The Creative Collective’s team of volunteers.  He is currently studying for a Masters in Marketing and he is with us one day a week working on marketing campaign as well as writing funding bids.

Sebastian helped with the Beatles exhibition and this is his view of the event:

“The preparation for the exhibition started a full week beforehand.  Many friends, resident artists and exhibiters all came together to contribute their work. Two walls were covered with beautiful artwork from resident artists. The residents range from 18-80 their work was mainly portraitures, group pieces, a collage, a photomontage and alternative perspectives from The Doodle Man. Many mediums were incorporated including giclee limited prints, watercolour, oil on canvas and mixed media

Two walls were dedicated to the schools competition, we received 43 portraits from year 7 and 8 studentsat North School.  All needed to be judged and 1st 2nd and 3rd prizes awarded by the Mayor of Ashford, Councillor Geraldine Dyer.

Other contributions included the original company framed certificate of registration for the Beatles.  An acoustic guitar was donated as the main prize for the raffle other raffle prizes also included 2 hours music studio time, art from The Creative Collective, succulent in a glass and a necklace from GlamRUs Accessories. The gallery was lit up with a projector and sound system displaying a Beatles compilation DVD on loop, this was a re-mastered anthology with original film restoration of Beatles backtracks.

Doodleman (Sam Cox) the ‘Graffiti Spaghetti’ specialist had his own corner to do a live painting which was due to be filmed throughout the event. There was an A2 comments board festooned with cartoon characters to be filled in with visitor reflections.

On the day large quantities of nibbles and were purchased and a lovingly prepared spread of food was made up. Janet, our volunteer, prepared cheese, ham and chicken sandwiches with salad humus and crisps. From 6.00pm people started arriving and the gallery was buzzing with music.  Soon after 6.30pm the musicians took the stage, they announced the raffle and took any song requests. By 7.00pm the gallery was full.  Doodle Man was situated in his corner producing an artwork. The resident photographer was documenting the event and judging had started for the winners of the school competition. The atmosphere was electric, bodies were spilling out into Park Mall Shopping Centre and people were getting into the spirit of the occasion. The Beatles subject was a fantastic vehicle to achieving an entertaining night of revelry. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of interest in the competition with children and their families eagerly anticipating the outcome of the judging. The raffle was also going very well with well over 100 tickets being sold, with the grand draw taking place at 8.00pm. Overall the evening was a roaring success with everybody leaving positive comments and feedback.”

If you were here on the night, please leave a comment, it really matters to us. If you are interested in volunteering for us, please call 01233 421589 or pop into the gallery.

Many thanks.  The Team

A series of Creative Workshops for everyone

From January, The creative Collective will be running a number of four week creative writing workshops for anyone interested in telling stories in any form.

Samm Short

Samm Short is a writer, artist and mentor. A published academic and creative author, she helps fellow writers discover the stories inside them and gives them the tools to unleash them into the world.

From Sunday 10th January 2016, from for 4 weeks, Samm will be running a Guerrilla Poetry Workshop.

‘Poetry is for school children and academics’ ‘Poetry is too rigid’ ”Poetry is pretentious and confusing’ ‘You have to be clever to write poetry’ ….Sounds familiar?!

This 4 week course sets out to smash the barriers that prevent so many of us from playing with this liberating form of self-expression. We’ll find a way back to our primal desire for rhythm, rhyme and image, and see what happy mayhem we can create in the process, using words as our weapons.

From Tuesday 12th January for 4 weeks, join us for a Children’s Story Writing Workshop.

‘Sure it’s simple, writing for kids…just like it’s simple bringing them up.’ Ursula Le Guin’s ironic take on writing for children just makes us want to do it more.

Childhood magic, wonderment and insight – who wouldn’t want to write for children? On this course learn about narrative structure to hold your story together and explore the reasons why you want to write for children in the first place – and how a clear vision can help you produce the story you’ve dreamed of writing.

We will continue in the New Year with an Art and Writing Project and a Beginners Fiction Writing Project and will inform you of dates as soon as possible.

“A story is a garden you carry in your pocket”

 

Beginner’s Fiction Writing – A 4-week course to re-discover the well of inspiration you have inside and around you. Perfect for new writers or experienced writers feeling stuck in their work.

Learn how to court inspiration even in the unlikeliest of places, and get to grips with the basics of plot, structure, character development and point of view.

An activity-filled course including time to reflect on inspiring quotes and passages from other writers, guaranteed to give you a tonne of new material to work with and the tools to shape it into your very own dream-child.

‘It’s like learning to ride a bike; at first we’re banging our knees and scraping our shins, learning how to use these tools – sometimes a bit awkwardly at first – but in a week’s time we find they’ve crept their way into our writing without us even knowing it, and we’re better writers for it.’ David, June 2015 alumni

Remember we have a number of young artists with design and illustration skills who can then help make any book you write more interesting.  We’ve also asked a friend of ours who runs a self publishing business to come and talk to you about publishing your book without the restraints, complications and financial implications of using a publisher.  We’ll give you more details nearer the time.

Finally, if you’re a fan of poetry and film, you can join us on the second Wednesday of every month for our Poetry Jam Sessions and read or simply listen to poetry to give you some inspiration; or come and meet Directors and critics and watch an independent film with us on the last Wednesday of every month, bring your own drinks and the we will provide the popcorn and it will only cost you a fiver.  The first film we’re showing is Amir Amirani’s Oscar nominated We Are Many and you can find out more about it HERE.

For more information please contact us on 01233 421589 or email us HERE.

The Creative Collective Art Fair & EXPOSED

A week left to our first Art Fair and EXPOSED launch event in Park Mall, Ashford, and we have busy putting the last bits together. The Art Fair is about showcasing the talent of local artists of any age.  The open viewing in the evening is the first of a series of events, EXPOSED, highlighting the work of young artists 16 to 25 years old in Ashford.  There will be live music and entertainment from 12pm and an opportunity to leave your creative stamp on a gigantic community canvas which will be displayed in the Mall.

The young artists have been creating original and one off posters to display around the town centre and they look amazing.  The Gallery came to life with lots of laughter but also serious exchanges of ideas and conversations about what impact art and creativity can have on people’s lives and health.  It’s clear that these young people really enjoy being part of Ashford’s art scene and they’re excited to see their work being exhibited for the first time in gallery settings.  To them, the most important thing is that the residents of the town support them and attend their events, and perhaps take one of their pieces home to enjoy.

Stevie, Milan, Louise, Jordan, Charlie, Matt, Emily, Esther, Hannah, Jayde, Chloe and Harry have worked very hard to produce pieces for the art exhibition and their work has already attracted a lot of attention.  They have had some help from Iratxe, Maria and Paul to develop some of the projects – namely our 2016 Calendar in Aid of the Pilgrims Hospice which you can view on the day, as well as other photographs.  Their aim is to create a platform for all young creatives in the town and beyond to work on collaborative projects and to help other young people in similar situations have a say in shaping cultural events in our town centres.  They are currently working on a number of projects and you will be hearing about them very soon.

If you are a young artist and would like to get involved, volunteer or show off your art, pop in and see us.  If you are a school, college or a higher education institution and would like to work with us, please email us HERE.

For now, please take the time to come and support this wonderful project.  It is here for you.  The Team

Charity Calendar in Aid of Pilgrims Hospice

Some of us have had relatives or friends taken away from us all too soon but have been blessed by the presence of truly caring and passionate people who have helped us care for them and cope with loss and despair  We at The Creative Collective wanted to give something back to these special people so what better way to do that than the only way we know how, through creativity and art.

A number of young artists and friends of the gallery got together, brainstormed and came up with an idea – not original by any means but with a bit of a twist – and worked very hard to produce a final piece. The collaboration resulted in a 2016 Calendar, and we now need your help to raise funds for our local heroes at the Pilgrims Hospice.

We brought together 12 of our own local male heroes to make it possible.  John, Scott, Mason, Natty, Tiger, Joe, Anthony,  Toby, Ben, Harry, Jordon and Dane bare it all – or almost all – for the benefit of the charity.  We had lots of fun and laughter putting it all together so we hope to make you smile when you turn the page at the end of every month for a whole year. To give you a taste of what’s inside, here are some photos of our shoot.

So now we’ve done our bit, we ask you to please do yours.  We leave it up to you to decide how much you would like to donate, but please bear in mind the MINIMUM DONATION is £10 to allow for printing and promotion. Make sure to leave your address if you would like the Calendar sent to you by post.  Or you can collect them from The Creative Collective Art Gallery in Park Mall and AHBS Community Radio at Platform 5 for now by showing your payment receipt.  More collection points and venues will be available from mid-September so we will keep you updated.  We can even post them to you but there would be an extra charge for that which will be added when you visit Paypal.   Click HERE and donate generously now.  Should you wish to buy a single photo of any of our lovely lads, email us for more details and prices simply visit the gallery on 26th September when they will be on display and easy to choose from a range of photos.

We would like to thank all of your lovely models, Chloe LeCarpentier our photographer, Maria Connolly for project Managing, and anyone who donated towards the props and the project, including some of our local charities and businesses.  A special thanks also to John ‘Webbo’ Webster of AHBS Community Radio for his support, now and always.

Well that’s it, let’s get the ball rolling and raise lots and lots of money.

Thank you all.  The Team

Pilgrims Hospice