Maidstone is awash with artistic creativity, from singing and music to art on canvas there are more and more events springing to life than ever before. Maidstone Area Arts Partnership (MAAP) is bringing the art scene in Maidstone together through their communication with their members and working with other organisations, like the KCC, to make events even more accessible and well known in the area.
MAAP currently have 32 members representing different art organisations and individuals throughout Maidstone and working together, they create an anti-clash events diary which tries to avoid splitting the arts audience for similar performances. MAAP itself is chaired by Ken Scott who told me that one of their objectives is to lead the development of the arts and culture in Maidstone and bring people together to achieve that.
One MAAP member is the Detling Players and their Treasurer, Richard Finn, agrees that MAAP have a big part to play in the Maidstone arts scene “My view is that MAAP has a significant potential role in building a lobby for the arts in Maidstone and encouraging artistic organisations to work together. For example, Detling Players would like to share audiences with other drama organisations in Kent; we do not just put on plays, we have a monthly event “Thursday Thesps” when we have play readings, and development workshops for directors, lighting designers etc…which are open to all and especially those who cannot commit to a rehearsal schedule.”
The role MAAP is playing seems to have shifted into the spotlight and Richard reflects: “Detling Players have always been a MAAP member; we have seen membership as an opportunity for publicising our productions and events. Until recently MAAP has meant very little; pay our subscription and get our productions in the leaflet. However, something appears to be stirring and they are beginning to add more value to arts organisations like us.”
It seems that 2014 could be MAAP’s year as their membership builds with the arts. Working with the KCC, their new strategy has been planned out and three projects using singing as a community art are already underway. These three projects are setting up a singing group for mental health support, a singing group directed at care homes and older people and a wellbeing choir for those tackling issues such as stress or anxiety.
MAAP are involved with as many arts events in Maidstone as possible and many of their members are actively participating in the Maidstone Town Team events this year. Promoting the arts in Maidstone is also a priority for the partnership and with support from the Maidstone Borough Council they produce a free events guide every season trying to give equal coverage to visual arts as well as the music events.
With the arts firmly on the calendar of events in Maidstone for 2014 MAAP’s voice is growing and helping to ensure Maidstone has an arts scene fit for Kent’s county town. This year could be Maidstone Area Arts Partnership’s best yet.
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