The Kent Association for the Blind (KAB) Gravesend Art Group for blind and partially sighted artists was established by artist Wendy Daws in March 2015. An initial meeting was held with the Kent Association for the Blind, the Guide Dogs Association and the Macular Society at Gravesend Library.
The question “Who wants to meet up with like minds, talk, drink tea, share ideas and maybe make some art?”
The short answer “WE DO!”
The first 8 week project ‘Exploring Tactile Art’ was held at Gravesend Library. This continued with 3 months of tactile art making to create a ‘Totally Touchable’ exhibition of painting and sculpture, meeting jointly at the library and Wendy’s studio – for the really messy stuff.
‘Totally Touchable’ was exhibited at The Blake Gallery, Gravesend, Kent, 3rd – 22 November 2015. It was a great success, leaving the group hungry for more. The project was evaluated by Sharon Manship from Canterbury Christ Church University. The evaluation and film are available here: Totally Touchable evaluation on health & wellbeing impact
For their next project the group were eager to reach out and invite others to join their art adventures. Members of the group together with Wendy, applied for funding from the Gravesham CAN Community Scheme and the Northfleet and Gravesend West Neighbourhood Forum. They were successful in their bids and are extremely grateful to the funders for enabling ‘Reaching Out’ to happen.
‘Reaching Out’ took place at St George’s Church, Gravesend, in collaboration with the RiverVoice Community Choir and Opera Singer Tania Holland Williams. The group were delighted to welcome new faces.
Reverend Canon Chris Stone said “I found the ‘Totally Touchable’ exhibition inspiring, and welcomed Wendy Daws’ request for St George’s to host the next project. Just as the church is more about people than buildings, I’ve been delighted to get to know the group and see them busy at work as they’ve met on Monday mornings. I’m very much looking forward to the new exhibition and the choral work.”
The exhibition launch and celebration took place on Saturday 14th May 2016 at St George’s Church, Gravesend, Kent DA11 0JD. The choir premièred their new choral piece ‘Remnants of a Name’ composed in response to historical heroine Pocahontas, whose statue stands in the church grounds. The art work created was been inspired by the rich colours of the stained glass windows and architectural details spotted by members of both the art group, choir and visitors to ‘Reaching Out’.
You can experience a flavour of the ‘Reaching Out’ celebration with our film made by Spaghetti Weston ‘Reaching Out’ https://vimeo.com/175844855
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