At Ashford College, we are passionate about getting involved in community projects throughout the year to help benefit our town and the people who live and work in the area. Our Art and Design department is no exception to this, with projects in the past ranging from raising money for Afghan refugees through art sales, to bringing people into the town centre through their end of year exhibition. Their latest project that they are currently working on is sure to brighten up the town in many ways.
The project itself is one that you may have seen covered in the national news (such as by the BBC), which is “Unframed: Ashford Mural Festival”. Murals are currently being designing to be seen across Ashford, transforming forgotten and blank spaces into amazing works of art. This Mural Festival will allow artists to make their mark on the town in a unique fashion, with local artists such as Mr Doodle already doing so, with him having created a gigantic piece on the side of the Edinburgh Road Car Park. Our Art and Design students have been hard at work on the past few weeks, brainstorming, pitching to the council, and finally creating their idea for what our Murals will look like.
We are lucky enough to not have just one, but two pieces of artwork make up the festival trail, highlighting both our Art and Photography sides of our Art and Design pathway. The first mural will be displayed on the wall outside on the college on Station Road, and will welcome you in to our grounds. This mural has been created by Photography students, with Photography Lecturer Marc currently collating some of our captured images together to make our final piece. In collaboration with Accent London, this vision will now become a reality and work is set to start soon.
Our second mural is aimed at giving people a great first impression of the town, as they step off the train out of Ashford International Station. To welcome those into Ashford, Level 3 students Leah Bunting and Claudia Otto are having their design printed onto the station’s planters by the car park. Their design was chosen after an in-college competition between all our art students. This part of the project was possible thanks to the help of Southeastern, the Kent Community Rail Partnership and funding provided to us by the Community Rail Development Fund.
Our Art students from our Level 2 and Level 3 courses went along to Brockhill Country Park recently to learn all about the art of willow weaving, which has been worked into this 2nd design. Staff at the country park taught our students how the willow is grown and processed so that it can be turned into beautiful art and be used to make decorative pieces. After an initial history lesson and a tour of the grounds, our students got started, and have been weaving away! We can’t wait to see these finished pieces in all their glory.
In a bonus addition to the town and the trail, commuters who use Ashford International Station will not only see our display outside, but also our collection of Jubilee decals inside, which were created and put on display last summer. These were created in association with local groups and schools across Ashford.
Once these murals are all created, they will be a fine addition to Ashford, and will be displayed as part of the Unframed Trail from 1st – 16th April, although it is hoped these artworks will remain up in the weeks and months to come.