A summer squall, a green dog and a King’s shilling – only on Kent’s Creative Coast

I’ll definitely be heading to Thanet at some stage this Bank Holiday week-end to take in Ramsgate Art’s Summer Squall, now in its 4th year.  I really like wandering around artists studios  and it will be good to see what’s happening at the York Street Gallery, owned by artist Mike Samson, find out who’s won the open art competition at the Updown Gallery and maybe take the King’s Shilling from Dawn Cole.  Whether you like singing, dancing, writing or painting there will be lots of opportunities to participate in creative activities over the 3 day festival.  I’m also hoping I might bump into photographer Rob Ball and his green dog who will be creating some contemporary ‘Walkies’ photographs as part of the South East Archive of Seaside (SEAS) photography project.

Last time I was in Thanet I had a wander around Westgate, once an exclusive resort and still full of beautiful Edwardian and Victorian buildings. I met friends at micropub The Bake and Alehouse and next time I’m going to try Frederick’s Tea Rooms, part of the independent Carlton Cinema that’s housed in a wonderful Grade II listed building. Their homemade cakes and gluten free options have been highly recommended by the locals (you know who you are). I’ve also discovered the recently opened The Corner House in Minster and enjoyed their imaginative menu. The friendly staff made a point of asking for feedback on our  experience there – I wish more restaurants would do this.

Last week I had my first exhibition ‘A Collaboration in Colour’ with Whitstable artist Jan Lewis at  Beach Creative during the Herne Bay festival. We had a brilliant week, were visited by hundreds of people, had lovely comments and sold lots which was very encouraging! If you haven’t ever been to Herne Bay or Beach Creative do go and have a look. I’ve enjoyed eating at the Wallflower Cafe and Le Petit Poisson and after my Private View many friends enjoyed the Wine Bar in Mortimer Street. You could always just buy an ice cream and sit on the beach. You can catch the last of the Festival events this week-end including street theatre in town, seafront illuminations and pebble decorating at the Reculver Visitor Centre.

This Saturday (25th August) the Isle of Sheppey will be the location for Love Sheppey  an event that will bring together artists and crafters inspired by the island.The event is funded by Creative People and Places an organisation that will be helping to bring many exciting creative experiences to the north Kent coast over the coming months.

Next week-end the creek-side market town of Faversham will be hosting the annual Hop Festival and I’m hoping to hear the talented Anoushka Lucas who will be on stage at Alexander Centre on 31st August. I’m pleased  that Claudia Benson is back in Faversham running creative workshops and I’m tempted to book her felt making workshop on September 14th at the Creative Stamper.  This is the same day as Light Vessel 21’s 50th birthday celebrations at Gillingham Pier and part of Heritage Open Days. Decisions, decisions…

Talking of birthdays,The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in Canterbury celebrates its first one on Saturday 7th September with a great mix of music, theatre, workshops and tours . Also on the 7th,The Quarterhouse in Folkestone will be hosting a free garden party with workshops in circus skills, theatre, music and more, to launch its Autumn programme.

Regular readers of my blog know that I am involved with the Whitstable based fundraising organisation Trust Sulha that helps to educate young Afghan refugees and aims to bring peace through education. It may seem a long way off but I’m helping to organise a ‘Day of Dance’ in Whitstable on Sunday 24th November where you can learn four dance styles in a day for just £10. Tickets can be booked at the Horsebridge Arts Centre in Whitstable or you can book on-line. It should be fun and it would be great to see you there.



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