Clare Smith

It is with great sadness that we announce that Dover Arts Development’s Founder/Director and UCA alumna Clare Smith passed on the evening of Saturday December 10th 2022. Her funeral was held at Barham Crematorium on Thursday January 5th 2023.

Clare will be greatly missed but will live on in the memories of the many people that she touched, through her pioneering work with Dover Arts Development, her Drawing Club, Dover Studio Collective, the Dover Big Local and her extensive art networks.

Born in 1959 in Penang, Clare had a peripatetic life, spending periods in Dacca, Jakarta, Oakington and Maracaibo, before being sent to school in England at Bedales, where her lifelong love of music and engagement with visual art began. This nomadic upbringing together with her mixed Anglo-Chinese heritage was of considerable significance to Clare and greatly informed her artwork. Clare’s love of languages led to a degree in Oriental Studies from King’s College, Cambridge, followed by a move to Luxembourg where she set up a business translating for international banks in Luxembourg and Himeji.

Settling in Dover after many years abroad, Clare began to pursue her true vocation in 1999, studying a BA in fine art at The Kent Institute of Art and Design (now University for the Creative Arts) in Canterbury, followed by an MA at Central St Martins in London (2009-2011). Between these studies Clare also worked as European Co-ordinator & Creative Business Co-ordinator at UCA Maidstone & Rochester (2005-2007).

The rest of her life was devoted to art, both as a very gifted artist, and as co-founder, with Joanna Jones, of their artist’s collaboration Dover Arts Development (DAD). This collaboration was dynamic and ambitious, generating 46 multi-stranded projects, with some 200 artists empowered to bring art to Dover and its environs. The relationship with UCA was ever present with generations of students, recent graduates and staff involved in DAD projects. DAD has partnered with Dover District Council, Dover Town Council, Kent County Council as well as large and small organisations in Dover District, the South East and Europe. It has brought £1.3 million into Dover from a range of funding bodies, creating networks across East Kent and influencing the public realm in Dover. Within DAD Clare realised herself as an artist, as well as her talent and passion for creating communities through drawing and sewing.

Clare’s greatest legacy is in her art, most especially the sequence of 70 Chemo-Day drawings, 40 now held by the Wellcome Collection, made while undergoing cancer treatment in the last 4 years of her life, a sustained and defiant act of creativity. The work lives on.

Clare is survived by her husband Roger, sister Jennifer and parents Zhan Lu and Brian Smith.