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Media invitation: The Importance of Elsewhere

Date: 15/10/2008           Category: Arts and Libraries

Armed with an anthology of Philip Larkin poems and keys to an old registry office, artists and residents in Chatham are creating their own arts utopia entitled The Importance of Elsewhere. The project has been pioneered by Medway arts company Curious Planet, in collaboration with The New Arts Centre in Chatham and several different community groups including Kent Association of the Blind and MCCH Pathways. The initial idea was to create a piece of work that would respond to Philip Larkin’s poetry in an unusual way, via the creative exploration of a large rambling building. Among those collaborating on the scheme are artist Wendy Daws and musician Peter Cook. The New Arts Centre offered the artists access to the old Register Office of Chatham, a large 21-room, Victorian House about to be re-developed into sheltered housing. Preliminary workshops in September re-populated the Registry Office with sights and sounds created by the artists, including giant and extreme characters and recorded murmuring conversations. The programme culminated in a three-day creative exploration when fifteen emerging and diversely talented artists came together to create their own responses to the space and to further the work of the community groups. The result is a stunning range of exotic and surreal installations, linked to the themes of time, remembrance and collision. This is a remarkable piece of arts programming that will have resonance for many residents of Chatham. It is also a challenge to the contemporary arts world to do more to explore the power of collaboration. Tania Holland, Director of Curious Planet says: “The chance to walk into a public building and essentially play with absolutely everything – cutting patterns in the carpets, painting direct onto textured wall-paper, casting shadows onto the curtains – has been an unparalleled and spell-binding opportunity. The groups taking part have had an utterly memorable time, and any visitors to the exhibition will have one of the most unusual and riveting arts experiences around.” The Exhibition will run from Friday 17 October to Sunday 19 October. Opening times are 10am to 4pm daily, and there is limited free parking at the site. This project has been made possible due to the funding received from a number of different sources including the FUSE Medway Festival who have put £2000 towards the project costs. FUSE is committed to supporting local arts activity throughout the year, and this event is one of a number of festival branded events taking place between now and March 2009. For further information please contact the New Art Centre on 01634 812108. ENDS Editors: You are invited attend to the private view of The Importance of Elsewhere, which will take place on Thursday, 16 October from 7am to 9pm, at 114 Maidstone Road, Chatham ME4 4DJ Please RSVP to info@curiousplanet.org if you are able to attend Further information from: Jo Harwood, NAC Centre Manager 07906 978450, jo@thenac.co.uk Tania Holland, Director Curious Planet, 07775 507713, tholland@curiousplanet.org