Top artists to take over Gravesend town centre

PUBLISHED: 14:36 05 January 2011

Mary Paterson

Mary Paterson


The country’s leading artists are being invited to work in the community to create a series of exciting installations in some of the borough’s most popular urban 

The North Kent Local Authorities Arts Partnership (NKLAAP) will commission six “encounter” art projects in Gravesham, Medway and Swale, encouraging artists to work with local organisations to create artwork reflecting the region’s identity.

Venues such as the refurbished old town hall, the riverfront promenade and empty shops in both Gravesend and Northfleet have been suggested as possible sites which would attract a large passing audience.

Creative producer Mary Paterson said: “The process is just as important as the final product. As part of the commission the artist will give a number of talks about the work and interact with the community while producing it.

“The idea is these temporary ‘encounters’ will be unusual and surprising, something different from what is typically found in a town centre. This is a big year for art in Kent with the Turner Gallery in Margate opening and we want this to be on a similar standing so we are looking for some high profile entries.”

She added work could range from traditional painting and sculpture to performance based work such as theatre or dance.

Each artist will be paid £13,500 plus VAT for the commission and up to £2,000 to hire the venue with work set to begin in June and run to October.

Though each instalment will be unique and individual to the area, a theme is hoped for the whole project and a photographer and web designer will be employed to document the works and place the project online.

Invitations to artists were sent out at the end of 2010 and site visits are planned for February, with a final decision on the application due in March.

NKLAAP is made up of Gravesham Borough Council, Swale Borough Council and Medway Council, with support from Kent County Council and half the funding for the £170,000 project has been provided by the participating groups.

The remainder is hoped to be raised for a series of grant applications, the largest, from The Arts Council, due to be decided in February.

Gravesend riverfront has recently gained a new group of contemporary artists headed by former serviceman Glenn Fitzpatrick using the Riva bar on the refurbished Victorian cast iron pier to exhibit their work.

Anastasia Zinkevich, co-owner of the premises, said: “We have people come down here to look at the pier and we had this space so it made sense. We offer the area free of charge, but it gives our customers something extra and brings people in so it works for both of us. It is important to encourage artwork for the town.”

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