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Arts and Cultural Strategy

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

2. Introduction

Arts and Culture in Gravesham have held a central space in the borough for many years. Annually the area has a multitude of regular festivals and events attracting a large number of residents and, indeed visitors from well beyond the borough lines. These activities are as diverse as the Riverside music festival, St George’s day celebrations, Eid, Diwali and Chinese New Year. Recently the Fringe Festival and Estuary festivals have begun to make their way into the firmament of Gravesham’s cultural offer.

In addition to the landmark activities there are organisations developing and presenting work throughout the year. Regular events at the council’s flagship venue, The Woodville, range from comedy club to pantomime, music events to award winning contemporary drama and they attract a strong audience. The cinema audiences have been amongst the first to return after the pandemic lockdown in 2020 and patrons have been enthusiastic to experience outdoor work whilst the venues have been closed. The outdoor venues represent an important part of the recovery process for the borough beyond Covid-19.

Cultural activity is not limited to the large venues, partner organisations such as the lightship LV21 (moored at St Andrews Quay), Northfleet Big Local, The Gr@nd Healthy Living Centre and NPO’s such as Cohesion + are creating important and popular events in Gravesham throughout the year. In addition the Borough Market is also developing a strand of arts programming. The creation of Gravesham Arts Salon (GAS) in 2016 has brought together many of the artists and creative organisations working in the borough. This is a flexible constituted network that has developed sufficiently to submit successful funding bids and is an intrinsic part of the delivery of this strategy.

Whilst it is true that the umbrella term of ‘Arts and Culture’ can be used to describe these activities, and many more enjoyable aspects of living in Gravesham, most of those attending are just enjoying the buzz of living in a borough that is fun and adventurous and where there is always something happening.

The prevailing intention of all of Gravesham’s activities has been to work with and for the community - a community which is rich and diverse. This strategy will not swerve from that intention, rather it will take the building blocks of the last 5 years in which over 500,000 people engaged in cultural activities and develop a thriving cultural infrastructure for all residents and visitors to enjoy.

Resident comment - Build on the strong legacy of community events and support creativity and cultural cohesion within the borough.

It will recognise the strong foundations that have been laid and build a sustainable creative future for Gravesham firmly establishing its position as a cultural lynchpin on the North Kent coast. This aim is firmly embedded in the council’s corporate plan.

This strategy is a plan for the next five years until 2025 and outlines how the aims identified can be achieved with strong leadership and aspiration and partnerships with key organisations in our borough. The strategy is ambitious but realistic and must be a living document that can adapt and grow with the times.

To ensure that this strategy remains relevant and focused it will be reviewed regularly, action plans will be drawn up annually and the reporting of results will be part of the council’s annual review.

Make it in Gravesham has been developed consulting with our residents and visitors, our artists and our creative partners, our businesses and community organisations and we will continue to consult and work with them throughout the life of this strategy to keep it vibrant and relevant in the coming decade.

Our Vision

This strategy has been developed in consultation with residents, partners, local business and the wider cultural sector. The vision and priorities have been identified through surveys and steering groups and are embedded within the council’s corporate plan and other relevant strategies.

‘Gravesham will be the cultural and artistic hub of North Kent. Defined by a thriving artistic community and a diverse, innovative and accessible programme of events for residents and visitors to enjoy.’

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