Medway’s Creative Spaces

Medway is lucky enough to have multiple arts spaces that each have something unique to offer. If you would like to book a days tour (for a small donation to the Creatabot project) please contact Natasha on natasha@creatabot.co.uk

Nucleus Arts

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Nucleus Arts is the Award Winning flagship arts organisation founded by the Halpern Charitable Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of the late Hilary Halpern and it was his dream to promote the Arts in Medway and Kent. Nucleus Arts has become the cultural and creative heart of Kent & Medway over the past 12 years and focuses on affordability, accessibility and excellence in the Arts. They run multiple workshops, events and training programmes.

The main centre is at 272 High Street, Chatham, where the gallery, conference room and main artists studios are based. The artists open studios are held here every 1st Saturday of the month for all to attend for free.

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Nucleus Arts also have creative studio space in Military Road, Chatham, Rochester High Street (which also includes retail space) and Lower Stone Street, Maidstone. All spaces have a lovely cafe managed by Cafe Nucleus.

Nucleus Arts are working in collaboration with multiple local charities on their Arts Inclusive programme to make sure the arts can be accessible to all.

Sun Pier House

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This Community Interest Company was formed in 2012 to support and promote the best of Medway’s talent, providing a base for established and start-up businesses in the creative sector.

Within the building, there is a large exhibition gallery, tea room, events space, hire rooms, artist studios, open plan creative office space with hot desk facilities, all enjoying a glorious panoramic view of the River Medway.

Sun Pier House CIC actively promotes the businesses working within Medway’s creative community, encouraging them to grow and develop to their full potential. Sun Pier House is right next to Sun Pier, Medway Street, Chatham.

POP Creative Space

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POP is an abandoned shop turned into a Creative space in the heart of Chatham, Medway. The shop has been funded by EU and Recreate and hosts various free events and exhibitions throughout the year. POP is at 64 – 66 High Street, Chatham.

Unravel and Unwind

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Unravel and Unwind are working to develop a “country cottage” style craft drop in centre for crafters of all abilities, ages, background and culture where they can come and craft while they socialise-practice-teach-learn.

Their aim is to create a friendly open environment,”a crafting home from home” ) where local crafters & families can practice, learn, teach and sell their crafts. A place where skills can be shared and new ideas encouraging community engagement, increasing social well-being, removing isolation and possibly mentoring transitions into employment. They are based at Intra Arts, 337-341 High Street, Rochester.

Intra Arts

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INTRA is a Medway based arts venue, hosting creative events, classes, activities and studios, and offering one of the best collections in Kent of specialist arts equipment accessible to the general public – especially specialist printing equipment.

The not for profit company Intra Arts Ltd. was formed in 2014 when they took on the former Spemco building in Rochester High Street. This Art Deco fronted, Victorian building is much loved in the historic area of ‘Chatham Intra’. Their aim is to provide an arts programme, creative opportunities and education in a space that welcomes people of all ages, abilities and circumstances. They are based at 337-341 High Street, Rochester.

Helfa Gelf: Open Studios Art Trail

A diverse and talented group of artists based in Llandudno are preparing to throw open their doors to the public and invite visitors into the secret world of their art studio. They exhibit as part of Helf Gelf/Art Trail, North Wales’s largest open studios project.  A range of artists and craft makers will be allowing visitors to see where they work and how they work, over the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout September.

The six artists, based at ‘c.a.s.c artist studios and project space‘ on Garage Street behind MOSTYN Gallery, are a fantastic example of the diverse range of artists taking part in Helfa Gelf this year.  The ‘c.a.s.c’ collective has been going since 2009, when it first came to the public’s attention in its original location in Llandudno, they moved to their current studio – complete with a project/exhibition space in 2011 and have continued to thrive,  It has included a variety of artists over the years , all with a shared interest in contemporary art and crafts.

“Working at the ‘c.a.s.c’ studios has allowed us the opportunity to network with other like-minded artists and to seek peer group support. It is surprising how many artists live and work in North Wales and how much talent there is.,” says Wendy Couling mixed media artist and one of the founder members of ‘c.a.s.c’

“This is the third year I have taken part in Helfa Gelf and it has been a really rewarding experience for me. I exhibited as part of a different studio last year and we did well with sales, which is an added incentive!” said Barry Morris, a figurative painter.

“It is good to meet people who are interested in art and get feedback about your work. It is also interesting when you have people visit you every year, who can then comment on how your work has developed.”

All six artists will open their workshop spaces to visitors during the Helfa Gelf event in September. They will exhibit paintings, ceramics, sculpture, mixed media work and present installation pieces, the other members include Antonia Dewhurst, who this summer completed a successful exhibition and installation at Oriel Davies (New Town), Gerallt Hughes an illustrator, Jane Tudor who works in mixed media and sculptural ceramicist Wendy Dykes.

The local artists in the area are in the Conwy Coastal Cluster part of the Helfa Gelf /Art Trail.

Artists who open their studios share the inner workings of their creative world. Studios in the Conwy coastal Cluster  are hugely diverse and interesting, with over 22 artists all living and working in a 17 mile radius of each other. A full range of art forms is available to visitors including: contemporary wood work, ceramics, drawing, felting, jewellery making, painting, photography, printmaking, textiles, sculpture, fractual art and  illustration. In total there are over 300 artists across Gwynedd, Conwy, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham opening their studios to allow visitors to experience their creative processes.

A Helfa Gelf Art Trail guide book is widely available from local libraries, schools, tourist information centres, hotels, shops, galleries and Helfa Gelf Information Points. To help to plan your free artistic adventure, ‘The Art Trail Map’, an online interactive guide, is available at www.helfagelf.co.uk. This includes information on studio locations, artist profiles, a gallery of images, directions to the studios, satellite map, access information and opening times. It also contains information about free drop-in workshops and free community bus-tours run during the event.

Sabine Cockrill, project coordinator for Helfa Gelf says:

““The range of art is very diverse. It is exciting to start on the Art Trail and be recommended other artists to go and see and spend an interesting day exploring creative spaces.. You never know where the Trail might lead you. ‘c.a.s.c’ is a fantastic example of a group studio, where are you are able to see very different types of artworks.  The studios are in all sorts of locations from beautiful rural cottages, to garden sheds, to purpose built spaces in towns and villages.”

The  ‘c.a.s.c’ studio has been divided into different working spaces for each artist. As you move through the building, you can see how the artists have renovated the interior to meet their needs. Some areas have bright white boards, easels and workbenches, and all the artists have adapted the flooring, lighting and storage to enable them to work in their different materials and artistic media.

Barry Morris, whose work includes skull linocut print bunting and painted dolls, adds:” It really motivates you when you know other artists, curators , buyers, visitors and members of the community will be looking at your work. “

Pick up a booklet locally or use ‘The Art Trail Map’ online at www.helfagelf.co.uk. The HelfaGelfArtTrail project has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007–2013, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.