To celebrate the return of the amazing Kensington + Chelsea Art Weekend this coming weekend, ViewZine turns the focus on founder Vestalia Chilton.
A one-woman whirlwind, Vestalia is responsible for the founding vision of the event and is the driving force in bringing it to fruition. With a curating background that is both diverse and illustrious, Vestalia is both aspirational and inspirational, with a large dose of modesty and generosity thrown in.
KCAW is back for it’s second edition. So exciting. How do you feel?
Totally elated but also humbled. Every year we work really hard to create something really spectacular. There are so many moving parts and it sometimes feels like the planning will never end. This week is the opening week and we finally see everything fit into place. I love this bit of the festival - it’s both crazy and exhilarating.
What’s different about KCAW 2?
It’s almost double in size. We aimed to set an easier navigational system by creating Zones so a visitor can reach every gallery or event by foot depending on which zone they’re in. Almost each of the eight zones has some form of public art as a destination point and its own Art Bus stops. We also have a printed guide with detailed maps for each zone/area. We learned from last year that visitors love going on walking tours and discovering the hidden gems of the area, so we have added extra walking tours, bike tours, architectural tours - be quick to book yours! We are also hosting a big party on Saturday at Museum of Brands and are partners with Great Exhibition Road Festival - a festival celebrating arts and sciences - a big favourite theme of mine!
Organising this event is a mammoth task. What skills do you need to be able to deal with bringing this programme together?
I think the main one is to accept that things will take an unexpected turn at some point or another - nothing ever goes completely to plan no matter how prepared you are. Just be ready for that and be relaxed by staying calm and collected. Also having respect for others is number one in any job or task - appreciation of the team who are giving their all behind the scenes is top on my priority list.
What was the best feedback you received on last year’s edition?
We have an amazing advisory board and we meet every month to agree the way the festival will go. I love the ideas thrown into the pot. Healthy debate is very welcome.
What do you think makes K&C a borough like no other?
There is not another place quite like Kensington + Chelsea. It has everything. It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s intellectual, it’s steeped in history, it’s rebellious, it’s elegant. Just walking down any street you’ll bump into a blue plaque on a beautiful house or a hidden museum or secret gardens. I love it.
Which events are you most looking forward to this year?
I love Alison Jackson’s community-minded photography competition at Saatchi, our Public Art by Laura Ford in Napoleon Gardens, James Capper in Exhibition Road, Richard Woods in White City Place and of course ‘amazing, illuminated and inflated’ giant flowers by Amanda Parer Studio on Sloane Square.
Pop over to Museum of Brands to see our 3rd Street Art Mural selected by Public Vote. The Royal Photographic Society pulled out all the stops to create an amazing programme in Old Chelsea’s Telephone Exchange on Mallord Street. Not to be missed. So much more.. have a look on www.kcaw.co.uk for inspiration
Why should people come and participate in KCAW 2019?
I always felt that we can revel a little in the creative output locally, at some point the East End started taking all the cultural glory. Well, West London is back like never before. Come and have a look how truly brilliant this place is.
Image: Vestalia Chilton, The Exhibitionist Hotel in the Trash Suite by Dotmasters