Whitstable Art Society

2020 has inspired inward thinking, what are we doing with our lives? It’s been anxiety-inducing time for all of us. There’s been some silver-linings, a mass realisation of what really matters, an increased sense of togetherness and community spirit as well as an appreciation for the outdoors and inner-self.

Speaking to an artist for a recent article CommunityAd were told creativity has boomed and that’s due to the fact “we’ve all had so much time on our hands which in normal circumstances is a rarity. Lockdown has forced so many people to pause and stop being so hectic that I’m not surprised creativity has taken a huge surge in popularity – not just as a means to fill the time but lockdown I think has allowed people the freedom and time to relax and explore more creative pursuits, be that baking, gardening, DIY, reading or something more arty”.

A local group that have been doing ‘something more arty’ for the last fifty years are the Whitstable Art Society. The society is a thriving one and one that can boast a strong membership, all of whom usually enjoy a range of exhibitions in various locations across our arty seaside haven of a town.

The arts aren’t exempt from pandemics, as anyone involved in theatre will be fully aware this plague has been devastating on our culture and public appreciation of the arts. The Whitstable Art Society have, of course, had to alter their annual plans but thankfully they’ve been assisted by our sublime southernly climate and the beautiful habitat in an extended exhibition on the Tankerton Slopes.

If you’ve been for a stroll along our coastline any given weekend and you’ve chosen to scale the slopes as opposed to prancing along the, traditionally busier, promenade then chances are you’ll be fully aware of the Art Society’s set up. A delightful, colourful and surprising sight on the already delightful view. The created canvases join the canvas of blue skies, turquoise sea and green grass much to locals and visitors’ perusing pleasure.

CommunityAd spoke to Barbara Drinkwater who ever since she retired from education and moved back to Whitstable has been a member of the Whitstable Art Society, a time spanning over 14 years.


What’s your role at the moment then, Barbara, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I have been Chair for 5 years and previously organised the indoor exhibitions. We have a strong committee who have roles as Treasurer, Secretary, organising outdoor and indoor exhibitions, publicity, the website and Facebook.


Tell our readers a little about the Art Society if you may?

We exhibit in the Horsebridge and the Fishslab once a year. Committee members organise demonstrations, workshops and art sessions with varying themes on alternate Thursday afternoon meetings throughout the year. We have members of all ages and capabilities. We are friendly, welcoming and always support each other. Our society work with a very wide variety of art materials and mediums which gives a varying array of artworks. Anyone is welcome to join the society and take part in the organised events.


The art sales on the Tankerton Slopes have been a real hit, haven’t they?

Our outdoor exhibitions are held through the summer, weather and the virus permitting. The public are generally very interested in the eclectic mix of work. The setting for these exhibitions is beautiful.


Whitstable is a bit of haven for artists and arty types, isn’t it? What’s the allure of our town for the creatives among us?

Whitstable is an interesting place to be an artist, not only for all the ideas, views and wonderful light but it has affordable venues to exhibit in. I lived in Whitstable in my teens and early 20s and the place has changed dramatically from a rundown town, with no cafes, few visitors and very overgrown Slopes.


With September sizzling away and October’s forecast not too tragic at the time of writing this article, CommunityAd hope the Art Sales on the Slopes may continue long into the autumn. If you’d like more info about the society then you can find them on Facebook @whitstableartsociety or visit their website.

“It doesn’t matter what you choose to do to express and cultivate your creativity, or if you’re any good or not, it’s the actual doing of it that provides the benefit – it’s no wonder art is considered therapy!”

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