Intergenerational Art Re-imagines the High Street

Intergenerational Art Re-imagines the High Street

A new perspective on Tenterden’s iconic high street awaits visitors to the town in the next two weeks, via an intergenerational community arts initiative.

Through A Window on our Community, children from the Tenterden Schools Trust – Homewood School, the Tenterden Primary Federation and St Michael’s CofE Primary School – have been working alongside community groups of elderly residents and dementia patients for the past few months to reimagine Tenterden’s shops and buildings. Using the innovative work of artists Ana Strumpf and Ben Heine as their inspiration, the joint workshops have produced hundreds of individual drawings, paintings, photographs, collages and 3D models.

The creatively varied range of artworks is being displayed in St Mildred’s Church, at Small Hythe Studio and in shops along the high street as part of an Art Trail, from now until  Friday 19 July, during the Tenterden Festival.

The official opening at St Mildred’s (on Friday evening) was attended by the Mayor of Tenterden, Cllr Jean Curteis, alongside representatives of the schools and community groups involved.

Designed to help tackle loneliness and isolation amongst those living alone or with disability as well as break down barriers between young and old, the art project was funded through sponsorship from both the Tenterden Lions and Pabulum Catering.  It follows a successful previous programme run with the Tenterden Dementia Café last Summer.

“This has been a truly joyful project,” said Jo Pashkin, Arts Co-ordinator at St Michael’s who ran the project. “Our children were excited to hear the older people’s memories of the high street and then discuss their own ideas. We are looking forward to many more collaborations between young and old in Tenterden as a result.”

Mike Caridia, President of the Tenterden Lions, who attended the opening, said: “The Lions motto is ‘We Serve’ and a community arts project like this, that unites young and old, is a prime example of how we support a wide range of causes within the local community.”

Tony Wicking, Head of Operations at Pabulum Catering, which provides Homewood’s restaurant service, said: “Pabulum has been delighted to support this project.  We strongly believe in our values of education and innovation – this project underlines our commitment to them.”

The project also involved two other local primary schools – in Rolvenden and Bethersden.  Their art works focused on their own village high streets and are being displayed locally.

From left to right: Mike Caridia, President of the Tenterden Lions Club; Samantha Crinnion, Executive Headteacher, Tenterden Primary Federation; Cllr Jean Curteis, Mayor of Tenterden; Jo Paskhin, Art Co-ordinator, St Michael’s CofE Primary School; Sara Williamson, Headteacher St Michael’s CofE Primary School