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Maidstone Area Arts Partnership and Baltic Art Form are launching the first ever Maidstone International Arts Festival. The Festival aim is to put Maidstone on the map as a centre of cultural activity. The Festival will bring together international, national and local performers and artists in an impressive range of activities.

The theme of the Festival is Mars, as there is a crater on Mars named after Maidstone, and this not only provides a unique opportunity to bring together arts and science but also a focus for inspiration and engagement. Carl Sagan, astronomer says “Mars has become a kind of mythic arena onto which we have projected our Earthly hopes and fears.”

Through audience participation, public engagement, family activities and creative collaborations; the festival will present a series of performances, exhibitions, talks and workshops. Ken Scott, Chairman of MAAP says ‘‘It is our mission to encourage public participation in the arts  and to support local artists to improve the wellbeing  of both individuals  and the wider community. The range of activities we have planned is very ambitious for a First Festival, and we are grateful to Alan Firmin Ltd’ our principal sponsor and the Big Lottery fund  whose support has made it possible.”

The Festival which will open with an Art Exhibition in both the Museum and the Mall Shopping Centre on 24th June will culminate in performance days on 15th and 16th July centred on Brenchley Gardens, St Faith’s Church, the Museum and Mote Park Leisure Centre. It is planned that there will be up to 18 workshops, more than 60 live performers, 3 lectures, and the Mayor’s Gala Concert, featuring international, national and local talent in an arts extravaganza.

The Festival marks a significant development, as the arts organisations of Maidstone begin to come together to help to promote our County Town and celebrate its rich cultural diversity.