International artist helps local children get creative

Local children and their families were able to get creative at a free art workshop in Market Place, Bexleyheath (previously Bensons Bed shop) on Saturday (28 October). These free workshops will continue to take place every Saturday between 11am to 4pm for another five weeks.

Artist Tessa Garland preparing a sculpture ahead of the events

The temporary pop-up workshops will use the work of Roald Dahl and characters such as Willy Wonka as inspiration. Internationally renowned artist, Tessa Garland, will work with local children, showing them the skills they need to create and personalise their own lantern. Children can make as many lanterns as they want and don’t have to complete them in one workshop. They can return as many times as they need until their creation is complete. 

The workshops will culminate with the Borough’s very first lantern parade. It will include a procession of children dressed in their favourite costumes, showing off the lanterns they have created, accompanied by local musicians. 

Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure, Cllr Peter Craske said: “This is chance for local children to use their imaginations and get creative, guided by an artist who has exhibited worldwide at some very well-known galleries. It’s also about giving residents in the borough the chance to come together as a community during the festive season.

“These are the kind of community events that make us the very best candidate for the title of London Borough of Culture! Make sure you #backthebexleybid.” 

The lantern workshops and parade have been commissioned by London Borough of Bexley and will be delivered by Bow Arts, in partnership with the Bexleyheath Business Improvement District. 

Tony Garratt, Town Centre Manager, Bexleyheath Business Improvement District, said: “We are proud to sponsor this fantastic event. It shows what can be done with vacant space whilst offering young families further opportunity to enjoy Bexleyheath during this festive season. I look forward to seeing all of the fantastic creations in the grand finale.”

Marcel Baettig, Chief Executive of Bow Arts said: “Bexley is full of young brilliantly creative people – and we know that this amazing sculptural lantern festival will literally make their talent shine out.

“We are really lucky to be working with Artist Tessa Garland, who was one of the originating artist of Cornwall’s famous City of Lights festival that now entertains tens of thousands of people young and old every year.

“This year it’s the start of what could become an iconic tradition in Bexley and so we want to make sure that all the mums dads and shop keepers get behind the festival and have a great time!”

The Council has officially launched its bid to become London’s first ever borough of Culture. If successful, Bexley and another winning borough will be awarded more than £1million from the Mayor of London to shine a spotlight on what makes them special and unique, using creativity and the arts to celebrate their distinctive character. Visit our Bexley Culture website to find out how to get involved.