When the covid pandemic forced the latest closure of businesses, including the New Kent Art Gallery in Broadstairs, artist/curator Karen King decided to find new outlets for her talents.
One of these has been the creation of a fabulous new mural for a new business in Albion Street/Dickens Walk.
Karen was commissioned to create artwork on the former Veg ‘n’ Out building which is being transformed into the Mermaid fish and chip shop.
Karen was asked by the owner of the Seafarer chippie to help out the Mermaid business which is owned by a relative.
The artwork is just the latest in the town and Karen says she hopes there will be more to create a fantastic ‘trail.’
She said: “They were so happy with the mermaid that I have now added a few seagulls as well! It feels like a community thing, adding something lovely to the town.
“From the top of Albion Street you can see the mermaid and the fisherman (on the Seafarer’s building) They are linked together so that is quite nice and makes it another thing to spot as people go around the town.”
Karen is also creating art ‘porthole windows’ for the business which is currently still renovating the premises.
Karen and gallery partner Brian Hodgson have also been busy on plans for the gallery reopening on April 12 although she says the move to online during the covid restrictions was productive.
She said: “We carried on through the lockdown with collections and website sales and it has been quite positive. Our regulars have kept with us and bought things but it doesn’t compare with being open and able to talk to our customers.”
Plans for reopening include a new format with some of the regular artists forming a collective which will also see members ‘front of house.’ Guest artists will still be featured with exhibitions.
Karen said: “In the background we have lots of plans bubbling away because we want to keep it nice and fresh.”
During lockdown the gallery had changing window exhibitions, including one or the POW! Festival, to give people out on their exercise something new to look at.
New Kent Art Gallery is now in its fifth year.
Karen said: “It has been tough to get through the last year but we are here and hoping to bounce back in April.”
And, to add to the ‘trail’ in Broadstairs Karen is planning a mural for the gallery property.