The incremental conversion process of this late-Victorian brewery bottling plant at No.1 Abbey Street in Faversham began in July 2009, from what was then the core premises of a major joinery business (Frank & Whittome), thanks mainly to the vision and determination of partners and Creek Creative founding directors Anne MacLaren and Simon Giles. From modest beginnings with few resources and minimal funds, Anne and Simon went on to establish Creek Creative Studios as one of Kent’s prime locations for local artists and artisan makers to create and display their work. This journey was only possible with help from Faversham’s many champions of the arts, frequent interventions by skilled volunteers, and much friendly support from the community. Developments such as the Gallery Kitchen Café, which, under the guidance of talented Chef Lorraine King, was ‘Highly Commended’ by Kent Life / Kent on Sunday in their ‘Food & Drink Awards 2015’*, and the essential Gallery Artisan Gift Shop, have helped the project evolve into a fascinating destination, creative work environment, meeting place, event venue, and popular asset of the town.
* We have just been shortlisted in both the Café and Customer Service categories in the Kent Food and Drink Awards 2016.
Creek Creative now has 28 affordable rented studios and 8 deskspaces shared by 45 local creative practitioners, including professional visual artists, silversmiths & designer-makers, writers & filmmakers, web & media designers, illustrators, musicians & theatre performers, and some who simply escape the rat-race by exploring their creativity in a vibrant studio environment. In addition there are hireable project spaces, event facilities, training workshop days, part-time courses, and public galleries for art or design exhibitions on a weekly basis (individual and group shows welcome – subdivision options and curation by arrangement).
We still have much work to do completing our Lower Ground Floor facilities:
- Performance Space needs a levelled wooden floor, heating, backstage construction, lighting rig and PA system.
- Lower Gallery needs structural reinforcement, damp-proofing, floor treatment, lighting rig and heating.
- Art Studios need canopies, storage and heating.
Can you help us?
Creek Creative’s achievements to date are impressive, but the evolution of facilities is ongoing, with plenty of areas yet to realise their full potential, and there are still some major building works to complete. Please consider donating to Creek Creative CIC using this PayPal button, and we will guarantee your financial input (however modest) will be spent frugally, wisely and often ingeniously on the above and other improvements.
Anne and Simon first discussed setting up a not-for-profit art studio complex close to Faversham town centre in October 2006, giving rise to a long research process. Their brainchild project was named ‘Creek Creative’ in March 2007, and registered as a community interest company (CIC) in September 2008. A Feasibility Report was completed in January 2009, followed by a lease agreement for No.1 Abbey Street, Faversham from the 1st July 2009. Conversion and renovation work started immediately, helped increasingly by local volunteers, supporters and sympathetic traders, and by March 2010 the first resident artists had taken up studios.
Creek Creative owes a huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers, contributors, and everyone who worked on the project or gave financial support over the years. Special thanks go to Lady Swire, Hilary Riva and Neil Flanagan (of Swan Quay LLP), Pat Doyle, Bob Lamoon, Tony Gosling, Nathalie Banaigs, Caroline Lamoon, Bruce Ure, and Jill Holder. We are also grateful to Arts Council England, The Swire Foundation and Kent County Council for significant funding support, and for those timely sums provided by Swale Borough Council, Faversham Enterprise Partnership, and members of Faversham Town Council.