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Acclaimed painter Rose Wylie cuts the ribbon at Murston Heart

Home / Blog / Acclaimed painter Rose Wylie cuts the ribbon at Murston Heart

Rose Wylie has cut the ribbon at Murston Heart Creative Community Hub in a special ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Hub on the site of the old medieval church at Murston.

The Murston Heart project was established by the Murston All Saints Trust (MAST) to work with the local community, to shape a new future for the previously derelict and much vandalised medieval chancel building at Murston and the former churchyard.

The old church building had been on the buildings at risk register for many years but has now been beautifully restored, to form a gallery space.

The Trust has established a creative community hub centred on the chancel and brought back this green oasis to the heart of the community.

The works on the restoration of the old church, and the new studios and cafe, were both completed in December 2022.

The new building, designed by the architect John Sell CBE,  contains six studios, a cafe and a community education room. The former graveyard is a green oasis for wildlife and local people to enjoy. 

The project has been made possible thanks to the contributions of National Lottery players, as well as support from Swale Borough Council, Historic England, and a large number of charities including the Colyer Fergusson Charitable Trust, the Henry Oldfield Trust, the Mohn Westlake Foundation, and the Wolfson Foundation, as well as local organisations such as the Sittingbourne Invicta Rotary Club.
Over £1 million was raised for the project.

The Trust was honoured that Rose Wylie came to “cut the ribbon” at a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Hub. Rose Wylie RA OBE is one of the most internationally acclaimed painters working in Britain today.

She has won many prizes and awards and her visionary work is highly sought after both in the UK, and internationally, especially in the USA and Germany. The Tate has three big paintings in its collections.

Her most recent work, Blue Doodlebug, a large diptych canvas 3.8 metres x 1.6 metres was on view in the Murston chancel gallery during the celebration before being taken to Los Angeles for a forthcoming exhibition of her work at the David Zwirner gallery.

Rosie said “The doodlebug is pretty universal. It stands in for a universal fear of something in the sky. It could include the medieval dragon, which like the doodlebug, had its flames attached… I like things that fly. But generally, it’s butterflies, birds, angels, bats…. But I think aeroplanes are hugely good as well.”

Rose Wylie has strong connections with Sittingbourne – she was born in Hythe but has lived for more than 50 years in a house that also serves as her studio just a few miles away from Murston. Rose’s late husband, Roy Oxlade, was also an artist, and they both taught art at the College of Further Education in Sittingbourne for a number of years during the 1970s.

See and murstonheart facebook page for more information on the Murston heart project and its current activities.

Andy Hudson


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