Art for everyone’s sake

Greg Clark

Next week, The Rusthall Arts Festival is on once again from September 15-17. One of its organisers, Suzy Phillips, is excited about the new events that are planned for this year. Here she explains what’s happening where, and when and how you can be part of a free event that celebrates the area’s creative community

Volunteer-led Rusthall Community Arts is a non-profit organisation which hosts the annual Rusthall Arts Festival. This happens alongside an additional programme of events and workshops throughout the year. We are supported by Rusthall Parish Council, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Kent County Council and by donations from local businesses and residents.

This is the second year the festival has taken place, and I can confidently say that it will be bigger and more vibrant than ever, with a greater range of free activities and workshops planned.
Following the success of last year’s event, which was dubbed ‘Art Smash’, this year’s theme will be ‘Look What’s Flourished in Rusthall’.

This chimes in with the launch of our Quirky Tree event in February, when we asked local residents and young children to tie messages and artistic sketches to a designated oak tree on the common, which we will be revisiting this September to ‘see how it has flourished’.

Other exciting events on the agenda include a barn dance for all ages, courtesy of the brilliant Foot Down Ceilidh Band, as well as a children’s guided nature walk to view the unusual parts of Rusthall Common, which ends with a quiz at the Quirky Tree. This ramble will be followed by an art collage workshop using found objects from the walk.

There will also be improvised comedy sketches from Claque Theatre; live music from Band Without Boundaries; a collection of oral history monologues from some of Rusthall’s residents; and a series of well-being sessions, which include a talk from local experts Botanica. This will be followed by a Laughter Workshop with Caroline Hart, and I will be undertaking a demonstration of Life Coaching.

Additionally, you can also see artwork from the Abstract Art Group and children’s drawings from St Paul’s Primary School, and there will be a show titled ‘King Charles and The Oak Tree’at the Pet Shop.

All venues are in Rusthall and include locations such as the Daily Bread Café, The A* Rusthall Café, Sunnyside Hall and Toad Rock.

For further information, visit

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