CHALKUP21 launched officially on 23 August as part of the event hosted by the Up on the Downs partnership to unveil the Dover Totems created by artist Elaine Tribley. With the installation of the Dover Totems, the CHALKUP21 trail now has its full complement of buildings and public artworks.
The sculptures were unveiled by the Mayor of Dover and the Chairman of Dover District Council after an introduction to the Up on the Downs project by Nick Johannsen, Director of the Kent Downs AONB Unit and Chair of the Up on the Downs Partnership. Elaine Tribley also talked about how she developed the designs for the sculptures over a period of two years: the birds come from photographs taken by a passionate local birdwatcher and photographer; the plant designs from local botanist and botanical illustrator, Anne Pratt; and the coccoliths were based on clay coccoliths made by local people during a series of workshops.
The sculptures mark the footpath from Athol Terrace to the White Cliffs, with smaller sculptures on the way up that double up as seats for those needing a rest as they make their way up the steep path.
Once everyone had reached the National Trust visitor centre, either on foot or by minibus, Charles Holland introduced the CHALKUP21 project, particularly pointing out the importance and bravery of new architectural and public art commissions in a context where many prefer to play safe and resist the new.
The event finished with food, liquid refreshments and dancing.
Thank you to the funders, partners, supporters and artists who came along to help us celebrate and many thanks to The Up on the Downs Partnership, the National Trust and Dover Town Council in particular for organising and hosting such an enjoyable event.