Local art will be brightening up hoardings in Lowfield Street in the coming weeks, just ahead of a public consultation by the site’s new owners on its plans for the site.
The artwork features a wide range of works by Dartford artists, schools, colleges and local residents who accepted an open invitation to supply ideas or take part in workshops in the town centre.
The project was sparked by a grassroots appeal from a number of local residents and artists who felt the hoardings could host something creative until development on the site gets underway. Some took to Facebook and members of the Dartford Arts Network developed a plan for a public arts project that won the support of Dartford Borough Council.
The result is intended to be an outdoor gallery, designed to stimulate the visual senses and showcase a small sample of the wealth of artistic talent which resides in our local area.
The display will be installed on a 75 metre stretch of the hoardings at the north end of Lowfield Street during the middle of June.
Dartford Arts Network [DAN] invited both members and other local artists to contribute works for the Assembly. Last summer DAN also ran four Saturday workshops in the town centre to gather ideas and content from local people. The result includes painted boards, a large spray-paint mural, collage, screenprint works, typography and graphic pieces, along with interesting quotes about Dartford and references to famous Dartfordians.
DAN Chairperson Kate Withstandley said “There was a really positive response from local artists and from the public but we also had to persuade landowners that we planned something positive on the site. Lowfield Street has been a controversial place since Tesco’s involvement and everyone is a bit sensitive about it but, to be fair, the Council have been supportive and encouraging. It’s taken a while because we put a huge amount of time into the summer workshops and then into creating an overall design for the site. In the end it was crucial to have the Council acting as our link with the landowners. When Meyer Homes acquired the site at the turn of the year things started to move more quickly and I’m grateful to them. ”
Dartford Borough Council Leader, Jeremy Kite said: “No one can deny that Lowfield Street has been left in a dreadful state by its former owners but there’s now light at the end of the tunnel with a new owner who seem to be moving at a faster pace to deliver something and are more keen to engage with local people. Hoardings around a development site are a fact of life and whilst some might say we might drawing attention to an unattractive site close to our great park, I actually think people will appreciate the huge amount of artistic talent we have – young and older, professional and amateur. I hope people will be inspired by what they see and suggest ideas for what we might add to it. DAN have steered this project brilliantly and it’s a real demonstration of the talent we have in the town.”