Blast From The Past – The Chatham Vines Project

By Matt Bray

By Matt Bray

FrancisKnight were appointed by Medway Council to work with international artist John Newling and consultancy ArtOffice to project manage Chatham Vines.

Chatham vines was a major commission to install and nurture a vineyard of 32 Pinot Noir vines grown hydroponically in St John’s Church, Chatham. Before the vines were removed the grapes were harvested and made into wine, some of which was used in the Easter Sunday Eucharist Service at Rochester Cathedral.

As part of our role we supported John Newling, provided day to day management of the vines and devised an education programme to accompany the commssion. A limited edition hardback artist book documented the award winning installation.

Chatham Vines scooped the Rouse Kent Public Art Award for 2006 and the internationally acclaimed art critic, Richard Cook of The Times said:

“In full bloom, it must have been a magical experience, even for visitors who knew nothing about contemporary art. It turned out to be a powerful, poetic symbol of regeneration for a disused church waiting to be transformed in the regeneration of Chatham town centre.”

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