Inspiration=Dover the event


On 20th May 2016 at The Maison Dieu, better known by Dovorians as the Dover Town Hall, DAD hosted INSPIRATION=DOVER, an exhibition and concert, to mark the end of two DAD Projects: the Culture Kent one year Dover Pilot, known as Chalk Up, and the Dover Museums and Arts Group 2-year WW1 project, Joined Up. 

Together with the artists and museum partners, we set up the exhibition during the day,  the musicians arrived to rehearse in the Connaught Hall in the afternoon, taking on board  having an exhibition set up around them. Some of the museum partners went to extraordinary lengths to create an exciting display, bringing along precious objects from their collections that had inspired their artists  over the  two-years of the project and resulting in the outstanding artworks.

Doors opened to the public at 5pm and soon the Stone Hall was buzzing. The Court room with moving image works and an animation was a room of quiet concentration.

Speeches started at 6pm in the Connaught hall, in which there was also art work to look at including the drawings and the bunting they inspired for each venue.

Joanna and Clare welcomed The Chairman of Dover District Council, Cllr Susan Chandler, Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover & Deal, The Deputy Town Mayor of Dover, Cllr. Chis Precious, funders, friends and supporters.

DAD thanked Culture Kent for the confidence they had in DAD in giving them the Dover pilot. DAD also thanked the network of businesses and organisations who came on board to support the cultural tourism project and the INSPIRATION=DOVER concert and exhibition: Dover District Council, Dover Town Council,  The National Trust, George Hammond PLC, Macknade Fine Food, The Port of Dover, Gillcrest Homes, Deal Festival, Dover Community Radio, Southeastern Rail, The Western Heights Preservation Society, University of the Creative Arts, Friends of Dover Castle, Jasmin Vardimon, Dover greeters, Skillnet, Kent Downs, Up on the Downs, Red Zebra, Royal Academy of Music, Castle Fine Arts Studio, Adams Printers, Tonkin Liu Architects, Growth Rings Cic, Silver Screen cinemas, The Allotment, Il Rustico, White Cliffs Country, DFDS Seaways.

DAD also thanked the 14 artists and the ten DMAG partner museums and heritage sites: Áine Belton worked with Dover Transport Museum, John Dargan with aWestern Heights & PWRRQR Museum, Matthias Koch with Dover Museum, Louisa Love with Aylesham Heritage Centre, Simon Martin with PWRRQR Museum, Tania McCormack & Rob McDonald with Sandwich Guildhall Museum, Nicole Mollet with St. Margaret’s History Society & Museum, Colin Priest with Deal Town Hall, Cathy Rogers with White Mill Rural Heritage Museum, Peter Sheppard Skӕrved with Dover Museum, Gabor Stark with East Kent Railway and Rosie James & Marcia Teusink worked across all the museums.

The 2-year project was funded by Arts Council England and Kent County Council. Sarah Corn, in her role of Museum Development Officer South East, pioneered the working together of the arts and museums sector in Dover District and together with Anne Edwards supported the Joined up project. Both Sarah and Anne were part of the management team with DAD.

Joanna said: tonight is something of a birthday party. DAD is ten years old. Ten years of activities inspired by Dover. The web of connections that we have been making over these 10 years becomes tangible in this event tonight with ALL of us making this unique occasion happen together. Like Cinderella when the clock strikes the musicians, the museum objects, the art works and all of us will be gone. But we share this experience and hold it together in our memories.

There then followed speeches by Cllr. Susan Chandler, Charlie Elphicke MP, Sarah Dance, project manager of Culture Kent and Chris Mellor from Arts Council England. All the speakers congratulated DAD on their newly received Kent Creative Arts Organisation of the Year award.

Cllr Sue Chandler underlined Dover District’s support for the arts and welcomed the support given to Dover by Culture Kent and the Arts Council.

Charlie Elphicke mentioned the £600,000 plus that DAD has brought into the Dover Economy in their ten years and the 126 artists DAD has worked with and supported. He also commented on the way in which the arts can tell important stories.

Sarah Dance talked about the economic significance of bringing together tourism and culture and about Chalk Up’s successful network building.

Chris Mellor reminded the audience of the amount of work behind the evening’s success and encouraged Dover to up its ambition and continue the work to turn Dover from a cool spot for funding into a hot spot.

After the speeches, the artists showed the speakers and sponsors around the exhibition. This enhanced the joined up experience with one artist introducing the work of all the other artists involved in the project and the funders and sponsors being introduced to the show from an artist’s perspective. The museum partners had a very valuable opportunity to publicise their activities and present their organisations to around 300 visitors, many of whom were unaware of their existence.

The concert started at 8pm. The programme was devised by Peter Sheppard Skaerved and included two world premieres: Nigel Clarke’s Pulp & Rags with words by Malene Skaerved read by Clair Hawkins and David Gorton’s Lachrymal Variations. Nigel, Malene and David were present and the works were performed by the wonderfully inventive and inspiring group of string players known as Longbow.

We would like to thank Jessica Wood, our marketing co-ordinator, for the part she played in the success of the event and Edda Jones for her wonderful graphics. The Dover Greeters helped make visitors feel welcome and Sebastian Edge took the photos. Please click through the gallery below.