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The Essential Value of Artist Engagement

The Essential Value of Artist Engagement

A key element to the work we do at FrancisKnight involves bringing together different communities and our commissioned artists.

Published date: 23 March 2022

Getting an artist involved at an early stage of a project enables them to truly understand the community they will be working within. Artists have an important role in creating work that becomes a true reflection and celebration of the heritage of that place as well as being appreciated and valued by the local community.

By matching the right artists to the right projects, we help facilitate an engagement with local residents, encouraging an exchange of vision, stories and aspirations.

We talk more about the importance of community engagement in our most recent blog, touching on the creative approach particular artists have brought to some past and current projects.

With the relaxation of Covid restrictions, we welcome the opportunity to return to more face-to-face based activities, enabling us to run more community and artist engagement events in the coming months.

Within our projects we strive to maintain a presence in the community working with local groups and schools creating the opportunity to get involved in helping artists capture some of the spirit of their local community.

Our recent ‘Meet the Artist’ event invited local people to drop in and meet the commissioned artists Jo Chapman and FleaFolly and to learn more about their proposals for the Ashmere and Castle Hill South developments at Ebbsfleet Garden city..

Another example is our upcoming school workshop with Langley Primary Academy for the Redrow Homes development at Monchelsea Place, Maidstone, Kent. The surrounding Kentish landscape with its mature trees, hedgerow and abundant wildlife has influenced the public art delivery plan. Lead Artist Jason Mulligan, is a contemporary local sculptor who specialises in stonework. This workshop, which is set to run in May 2022, will give schoolchildren from the nearby area the unique opportunity to get involved in the creative process with Jason, and create their very own artworks.

Next up will be a programme of spring and summer workshops at Conningbrook Lakes, Ashford, Kent. Following on from the installation of Julia Clarke’s loop willow sculpture in October 2021, and the next phase of the project with artist Tim Norris.

The events will be delivered by Outdoor Studios who provide artist-led workshops for creative experiential learning, designed to explore environment, landscape and place. We look forward to welcoming families to these fun and interactive workshops. There will be something for everyone of all ages, helping residents embrace and get emerged in their beautiful, local environment.

Looking forward to this summer, we are excited to announce a different kind of project for FrancisKnight which brings a new approach in our artist engagement.

Chris Tipping (commissioned artist for our work on Rochester Riverside) will be exhibiting his work at Rochester Art Gallery from 28th July – 14th October 2022 and we are delighted to be curating this with him.

This is a rare opportunity for people to see an artists’ thinking, creative process and craft in producing artwork in the context and proximity to his public artworks at the Rochester Riverside development

We will share more information on the exhibition closer to the launch.

FrancisKnight is the connecting piece between developers, local communities and artists. We strive to create unique opportunities for these stakeholders to work together, creating art that is both valuable and inspirational to the local environment and its people.

To learn more about the value artists bring to public art, listen to our podcast episodes where we speak with artists Katayoun Dowlatshahi and Maria Amidu about their work with us.

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