Chalk up presented at the finnisage of the land & sea exhibition at the Royal Cinq Ports Yacht Club

Chalk Up

The finnisage  of the Land & Sea exhibition took place in the Lord Nelson Suite at the Royal Cinq Ports Yacht Club, Waterloo Crescent, Dover CT16 1LA on Friday September 18th.

Bernard Sealy, the Yacht Club Commodore, welcomed all and handed over to Tim Waggott, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, who stressed the importance of the real partnership working that is going on in Dover at the present time. Chris Precious, Mayor of Dover,  pointed out that the emblem he was wearing had the port and the town together on it. Mike Phillips, talked about the work of the Up on the Downs Landscape partnership scheme that has enabled large and small projects around the chalk downs landscape to happen, including this one.

Joanna Jones (Dover Arts Development) said how pleased she was to be here once again amongst this exhibition of paintings from the Harbour Board collection

Together with the watercolour workshop led by Dover Arts Development and inspired by this exhibition and the view from the balcony , the exhibition has given so many people the chance to view not only these wonderful paintings but also this wonderful yacht club for the first time.

All watercolour participants generously gave one of their works to be part of the Land & Sea book given to the Yacht Club in commemoration of this project.

One of the comments I remember was a yacht club member who after discovering a joy in watercolours said she would now, on her next yacht journey, be painting as well as reading books.

Helen Hoffman has specifically asked me to say a few words about Chalk Up.

Chalk up is the name we have given to the Culture Kent Dover Pilot DAD has been asked to lead. Its territory is Dover, Deal, Sandwich and everything between.

Culture Kent is part of the wider Cultural Destinations project, funded by Arts Council England and Visit England and led by the Turner Contemporary. At its heart, the project is about collaboration, partnership working, and developing projects which showcase Kent’s cultural assets and extend their reach by attracting new audiences.

CHALK UP is the umbrella for a series of projects that bring cultural events into tourist/heritage venues to enhance the experience for visitors. Heritage includes landscape heritage. The arts can illuminate and enhance heritage and engage visitors in a host of new and original ways. And heritage is inspiring for artists: For example, at the newly opened Fan Bay Shelter, we carried out a Full Moon artist’s walk and drop-in drawing workshops in association with The National Trust as part of the Up on the Downs summer festival. The result was visitors experiencing the shelter and the White Cliffs from entirely new perspectives. The project is looking to expand the amount of visitors/tourists coming to Dover for cultural events and benefit the economy of Dover.

In April we started our programme with a spontaneous creativity workshop with participants from Belgium, France and the South East of England. From this has grown the cross-channel project Weathertime: 30 artists from both sides of the Channel are each making a visual diary of a day this September that will be brought together into a film, with musicians that we will show in a tourist setting with live performers some of whom are performing here tonight.

Another very exciting project that directly supports Chalk Up’s ambition is the proposed artwork for the foot and bycycle path up to the white cliffs from Athol terrace. We were invited by the Up on the Downs partnership scheme to organize the call out for artists and the selection panel for this White Cliffs Gateway project. The project is a real chance for Dover to add to its success with the Tonkin Lui Esplanade and North Downs Way end of trail maker ensuring that Dover has its place with contemporary works of excellence in the public realm on the South Coast Cultural  trail. The call out for a work for our iconic white cliffs was very well taken up by artists and designers from across the UK and Europe with 43 applications from which the selection panel of 9 selected the artists now going forward to interview in October. The panel was comprised of representatives from:  Arts Council England, Turner Contemporary, University of the creative arts, Canterbury School of Architecture, The Port of Dover, Dover Town Council, Dover District Council, The National Trust,  the Up On The Downs partnership scheme and a young emerging Dover based artist.

Dover is at a point of great change, but Dover has always been changing.  It is this ability to change and adapt that gives Dover its rich layered history, leaving details of  remains from different times, so inspirational for artists and visitors alike. During our Chalk Up pilot we would like to strengthen the links between the arts and tourism and support a network to cross promote cultural events in Dover that in turn will benefit the local economy.

There then followed a wonderful evening of story telling, poetry and music from Dover Tales with St Martin and Captain Webb, alias Barry O’Brian, along with Anthony White who has recently settled in Folkestone. Caroline Fox Betts read 2 of her own poems; Brink and What the Waves Say.  Paul Cheneour played his flute, Simon Partridge read Mathew Arnold’s Dover Beach and Gerard Manley Hopkins’s  As Kingfishers Catch Fire and Nic Lucas spun his captivating yarns. Mal Nicholson read the ballard of The pickle, Mal has over the last year  rescued and restored the ‘HMS Pickle’, a replica of the ship that brought the news of the victory and death of Nelson at The Battle of Trafalgar, it was moored in Dover Harbour for some  days.

The exhibition was  supported with heritage lottery funding from the Up on the Downs Partnership Scheme. It was  part of the Ports  PORTrait initiative, which is focused on nurturing a shared cultural expression of Dover through the Arts and is also part of Dover Arts Developments  Chalk Up programme, which is encouraging and developing cultural tourism to Dover.

Helen Hoffman and Bernard Sealy both mentioned that there is ambition to do something again in 2016, we look forward to that.