3 Unique Places in Kent to Inspire a Love of Art

“Young People and Arts Engagement - What We Need” is a recent report that was commissioned by Arts Council England. The report was carried out by ART31, an organisation that is working hard to increase the engagement between arts organisations in Kent and young people. After speaking to 659 people under the age of 25, they found that almost 70% of participants said that art is very important to them. One of the biggest ways they found to increase engagement, was by visiting some of Kent’s inspiring landscapes, galleries and art exhibitions. 

1) Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Sissinghurst Castle Garden is bursting with inspiration for the budding artists in your class. The Tudor houses were originally built on the land of a pig farm. Over the centuries, Sissinghurst House became the residence to 3,000 French sailors that were captured and kept prisoner in some fairly dreadful conditions. The sailors called Sissinghurst “Le Chateaux” which is how it became known as a castle. In the 1930s, the garden was kept and farmed by the WLA - Women’s Land Army, who grew vegetables and cereal. During the Second World War, the castle and gardens had another incarnation as a dairy farm. Today, the gardens are kept by the National Trust and are open to visitors. 

When you are taking your class to visit Sissinghurst, talk to them about the inspiring history. Encourage them to interpret the past into their paintings, using their imagination to show how the castle once was. Walk around the gardens, taking in the colours and scents and or ask your class to sketch the birds and wildlife that they see in the grounds. There are so many ways that the beautiful gardens can be interpreted.

2) Folkestone Artworks

Folkestone Artworks is the collective name for an incredible group of artworks and sculptures that are on display all over the town. There are 27 in total, enhancing the surroundings and watching over the changing landscape. Visiting the artworks is the perfect opportunity to discuss with your class how art is so much more than what you put on the page.  Art can be changed by the weather, the view and the seasons around it, becoming an integral part of the vista. Encourage your students to think more about the surroundings to their paintings, as well as how to capture the changing light.

3) Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest Christian churches in the country and it is also a World Heritage Site. For children, it is incredibly inspiring and can bring new dimensions to their artwork. Talk to them about the rich colours and light of the stained-glass windows and see how your students use the windows as inspiration for their own paintings. Look around the cathedral at the different textures, from the impressive stone columns to the deep wood of the pews. Discuss how you can interpret different textures into paintings, simply with the application of colour and with brushwork. Canterbury Cathedral welcome school groups and it's easy to book a school visit

Kent is a county with a long history of beautiful art. Taking your class on field trips to inspire their paintings will encourage them to create more.

If you need any more persuading about the importance of the arts for children’s learning and development, then here are 51 benefits of art education for kids. 

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