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Culture bid sees free children's art workshops prepare for borough's first lantern parade

PUBLISHED: 12:06 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:01 06 November 2017

Tessa Garland, pictured with a sculpture of Willy Wonka, will be leading the free art workshops

Tessa Garland, pictured with a sculpture of Willy Wonka, will be leading the free art workshops

Archant

Bexley council is looking to become the London Borough of Culture

Youngsters are being urged to come along to a free art workshop to help contribute to Bexley’s first ever lantern parade.

Pop-up workshops will be running at the former Bensons Bed shop in Market Place, Bexleyheath, every Saturday for the next five weeks.

Internationally renowned artist Tessa Garland will be there each week, and started the initiative on Saturday.

At the workshops, Mrs Garland will be showing children how to create and personalise their own lantern, letting them make as many lanterns as they want.

The workshops will culminate in the borough’s very first lantern parade, which will include a procession of children dressed in their favourite costumes, showing off their creations.

Cabinet member for community safety, environment and leisure, Peter Craske said: “This is a 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.”

Under mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s initiative, two London Boroughs of Culture will be announced next February, when each will be given £1.1million from City Hall to go towards a programme of world-class cultural events and initiatives showing off what each area has to offer.

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 at 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 lantern parade has been earmarked for December 7, but this is yet to be confirmed.

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