Gaining confidence in Dover

my gallery pdf Dawn Maddison set up smART, a community art project, with Liz Gibney and Emily Smith and has recently opened ‘My Gallery’ on Dover’s seafront. She writes about the town she knows and loves.

Dover is renowned for its white cliffs, the Castle and the port but there is so much more to the town, like the historic clock tower where we have taken up our residence in our newly refurbished gallery.  We display work by Kent artists and throughout the summer we’ll support local community and charity groups to produce and display their art work too.

A day in Dover might not be enough to take in all the sights. A tour of Dover Castle could take all day alone! Close to the Clock Tower on the seafront, you can take boat trips around the harbour or for the more adventurous there are speed boat trips to the nearby Goodwin Sands.

april 2014 124You can enjoy seafood from Sue’s Seafood Stall on the seafront, whilst the Hythe Bay restaurant offers locally caught fish and has alfresco dining overlooking the beach and harbour; the Marina Hotel offers everything from breakfast to dinner including afternoon teas. If you just want to wander with an ice cream, there are plenty of places to choose and Pebbles Kiosk also offers deckchair hire and the very best toilets in town. Nominated for the 2014 ‘Loo of the year award, it even has designer tile mosaics! A few steps behind the seafront there is Cullins Yard which brews its own real ale.

If you like vintage, Archcliffe Fort is run by the Emmaus Foundation and has a warehouse full of restored furniture and future restoration projects. Walk into the town and you can discover the diverse history of Dover with a visit to the outstanding museum. Remember to look up as you walk through town as although lots of buildings were destroyed during the war numerous intricate and fascinating facades remain.

IAttachment 2f you’re feeling energetic, a walk up to the White Cliffs Visitor Centre will reward you with a panoramic view of the port and the historic harbour and a further hour’s walk along the stunning coastline will bring you to the South Foreland lighthouse. This National Trust property was the first to display an electric light anywhere in the world and offers views of the Goodwin Sands and documents the numerous ship wrecks littering the coast.

This summer will bring music festivals and the annual regatta, and My Gallery’s newest attraction ‘Art for a Fiver’. We want everyone to get involved with art and offer a full programme of affordable activities everyone can try.

Links between the arts and urban regeneration are well documented and we believe the time is right for everyone to get involved. The smART team all live locally and along with a great bunch of volunteers, have had a busy first year of trading.  Our aim is to empower people through art, by offering local people opportunities to participate in creative workshops run by local people. We want to help people become more confident and to engender pride in our town.

POSTERDover has been much maligned but we have found that looking for its positive attributes isn’t difficult, not least amongst the amazing diverse community.

Thanks Dover, it’s great to be part of you!

Follow the smART project on Twitter @doversmartproject 

Relics and Veterans – an exhibition of photographs by Ian Farrant takes place at My Gallery from 22 May – 3 June.

Join volunteers for a free photography walk from White Cliffs Visitor Centre to South Foreland Lighthouse on Sunday 8 June.


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