A new community art project is proving popular in Gravesend, Kent. ‘Footfall’ was launched by Gravesend Arts Consortium in Gravesend Borough Market two weeks ago. Each week a different group of artists take up residence in the market, allowing the public to see inside their workshops and watch work in progress. Every Saturday morning the artists’ work is exhibited and on Saturday afternoons there are free art workshops open to the public. As well as encouraging and providing a supportive network to local artists the project is enabling the local community to get involved and try out something new. I thought it sounded a wonderful idea and wanted to find out more….
What is Gravesend Arts Consortium? Gravesend Art Consortium was put together by Wendy Cottam. The aim is to bring art into the community. Currently Gravesend is a little lacking on the art scene, so its important that we take the snobbery out of art, get people involved and having fun. Each week we have five different artists in the market space, each one has a unique talent; so far we’ve had fine artists, a cartoonist, a photographer, textiles and yesterday performance art. Also, by having the community involved we are able to examine our own practice as artists.
What has been the response so far? The response from the market traders has been wonderful and very warm. Visitors are picking up and we are increasing the ‘footfall’ of the market space.
Tell me a little bit about the workshops on offer. Yesterday we ran a mind map art workshop, where you just let your hand draw what ever; all the drawings will be made into a collage. We also have word based workshops coming up and the making of a community blanket. Everyone who takes part in a workshop gets the opportunity to get their feet cast by Wendy Cottam. These castings will form part of our exhibition at the end of the project on 8th June. We end in the market on 31st May and then have a week to get ready for the exhibition. It will show all the work created with us by the community.
Any plans for future projects? We hope to make this a long term project – as it is bringing new life into Gravesend and we are currently making plans behind the scenes to make that happen.
For more information take a look at Gravesend Arts Consortium’s Facebook page.