Published: Thursday, 24th March 2022

Residents are being welcomed back to Medway’s town centres this spring with spectacular outdoor galleries.

We're proud to announce Welcome, a creative art project launching on Saturday, 26 March, which aims to welcome people back to Medway and celebrate local creatives through public artwork.

We were awarded £50,000 from the Welcome Back Fund for the project, to promote Medway as a safe and enjoyable place to live and visit.

We have commissioned eight artists to create a piece of temporary public art with scale and impact to be displayed in Rainham and Strood town centres for one year.

Medway’s town centres have a lot to offer residents and visitors, but they were significantly impacted by the pandemic during the last two years with lower footfall due to government Coronavirus restrictions. We are committed to supporting local businesses as they recover from the impact of the pandemic and these new art displays, funded by the government’s Welcome Back Fund, are a fantastic addition to two of Medway’s high streets. We supported local businesses during the pandemic, distributing more than £114million in government grants, and want to encourage them to thrive in 2022.

Eco Rainham, by local artist Nicole Mollett, is one of the inspiring outdoor galleries, with a series of drawings and text telling a story of how people interact with nature every day and what people in Rainham are doing to help tackle climate change.

The project launch, on Saturday, will encourage residents of all ages to get in touch with their creative side with free workshops and live entertainment which supports our aspiration to become a Child-Friendly City. Join Wordsmithery, a Medway based literary organisation, from 10am until 12pm in Rainham and 1pm until 3pm in Strood, to make your own welcome sign and listen to their new podcast, featuring interviews with the artists of Welcome. Residents can also create collages inspired by people and places in Medway from 10am until 3pm in both town centres with Creatabot. Live entertainment will be filling the town centres from 10am to 3pm in line with the project launch, including Dizzy O’Dare in Rainham and entertainment from Keep Calm and Book Us in Strood.

Great way to welcome people back to Medway's town centres

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “This public art project is a great way to welcome people back to Medway’s town centres and for the community to enjoy what is already on their doorstep. The project, produced by our Culture and Libraries team, is a great way to engage the community in high footfall areas and remind them to shop local to support small businesses. I am looking forward to seeing the designs in person and how Medway is shown as a great place to live, work, learn and visit. We have had similar successful projects before including Gillingham POW and the Rainbow Effect, and I look forward to seeing the reaction to Welcome and celebrating Medway’s culture and heritage.”

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