The Festival will open on 24th June with an Art Exhibition that will be showing at both the Museum Café and the Mall Shopping Centre. The Exhibition will showcase the work of local artists and schools as well as national and international artists whose work will be seen for the first time in Maidstone. The Art Exhibition will run until 16th July 2017.

During the week commencing 26th June, MIAF in conjunction with Venture Thinking will run 5 creative workshops for local secondary schools, inspired by Mars and space. These will be introduced by Dr Jancy McPhee, a NASA associate, who is a world leader on integrating science and art. During her stay, Dr Jancy will give the William Shipley Lecture on Space, Art, Creativity and Science. It is also planned during the Art exhibition to run a series of public taster sessions on art practice.

The performance aspect of Art comes into its own over the weekend of 15th and 16th July when a feast  of activities will be available in multiple locations across Maidstone.

Mote Park Leisure Centre will host dance workshops led by Rambert, on Saturday morning, culminating in a dance show in the afternoon. The winners of this show will go on to perform in the Mayor’s Gala Concert in the evening.

Brenchley Gardens will be alive with the sound of music provided by a Brass Band, Gypsy Musicians, Folk Groups and a range of professional musicians. St Faith’s church will host workshops for artists as well as performers.

In the morning, The Museum will be the focus for an interactive musical composition experience and in the afternoon there will be talks on publishing, and painting. Dr Helen Mason, an astrophysicist, will talk about the effect of the sun on both life on earth and space travel.

The Mayor’s Gala concert in the evening of Saturday 15th July, will feature ground breaking artists from Rambert, classical pianist Reinis Zarins, musical performance painter Maryleen Schiltkamp, The Dead Rat Orchestra, operatic tenor Jorge Colarado Navarro, mezzo soprano Maria Gulik performing a specially composed piece for the Festival. Maria will be accompanied by The Maidstone Singers and Mixed Blessings Choir who will also perform in their own right. Other local performers will be selected dance troupes, an operatic chorus and Invicta Jazz Orchestra.

Sunday’s programme are planned to include concerts in Corpus Christi Hall in the afternoon, and performances in Brenchley Gardens.