The programme for this year’s Coastal Currents festival has been announced with events set to take place in Hastings, Rye, St Leonards, Bexhill and Eastbourne.
More artists than ever before are taking part in the multi-disciplinary event, which runs throughout September and aims to showcase the region’s creativity as well as the resilience of south coast communities.
Eastbourne joins the Coastal Currents programme for the first time this year. One stand-out event will be David Nash: 200 Seasons, a major exhibition looking at the sculptor’s career from the late 1960s to the present day. The display will be in the Towner Gallery, Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, from September 28 to February 2020. Click here to find out more.
This year’s supporters include Art Fund, the De La Warr Pavillion, East Sussex College, Towner Art Gallery, Blackshed Gallery, eat @, Hastings Borough Council, lovehastings.com, White Rock Neighbourhood Ventures, Rother District Council, Jericho Road and Printtek.
A Coastal Currents spokesperson said: “Art Fund are investing in the next generation of artists and producers in East Sussex by supporting a new educational strand of work for the festival with Sussex Coast College. This culminates in a project where artist/curator Rachel Irons and a team of students will curate an exhibition for the basement/alley level of the Observer Building in Hastings.”
This display will run from Saturday, August 31, to Sunday, September 1, and on Saturday and Sunday, September 7-8 (11am-5pm). Click here to find out more.
The Observer Building vaults have been hidden from the public for decades and the re-launch of this building as a community owned space will be celebrated with several events and exhibitions.
Festival organisers say that there is a real theme of ‘people power’ running throughout Coastal Currents’ 2019.
For example, Juliet Russell, one of the country’s best composers working within site-specific contexts, is inviting residents to make a pledge about adapting to protect our natural environment. The main event of Our Town: A Pledge to the Land and Sea takes place at Ladies Parlour, West Hill, Hastings, on Friday, September 20 (6pm, free). Visitors can watch the sunset while listening to stirring live music and readings. Click here to find out more.
The Sustainability on Sea Festival returns from September 21-29 at various locations in Hastings and Rother, presenting a programme of eco-friendly and educational activities. This will culminate in the Big Green Fair, which takes place at the Stade on Sunday, September 29 (all day). Click here to find out more.
Hastings-based artists Ben Urban and Rachel Irons from Flatland_Projects are also bringing alternative therapy sessions to Hastings from September 21 with Cry Club. The project, which has been developed in collaboration with MIND (and previously featured at Tate and Goldsmiths), offers an opportunity for people to support each other and promote better mental health. Click here to find out more.
Sweet and Dandy director and festival producer Tina Morris said: “This region has such a rich history of people coming together, taking things into their own hands and making the improvements they need to see in their communities. It’s this spirit which makes Coastal Currents what it is, and the bigger the challenges we face as a community, the more energy we seem to have for putting our heads together to meet them.”
As well as holding events in Hastings and Eastbourne, Coastal Currents 2019 has strengthened its ties with Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion. The popular venue is hosting a variety of events including Thinking Through Darning (September 15, 1pm), a series of pay-what-you-can workshops where people can learn about how everyday habits have an effect on our clothing. People can also bring an item of clothing that needs mending. Click here to find out more.
The De La Warr Pavilion also hosts Pecha Kucha – a Coastal Currents special on September 19 (6.30pm-9.30pm). This is “a series of succinct and stimulating insights from an incredible panel of inspiring creative speakers”. Click here to find out more.
The festival’s popular Launch Party will take place on the roof terrace of the De La Warr Pavilion on Saturday, August 31 (2pm-10.30pm). Click here to find out more.
New for this year will be The Grand Coastal Postcard Hunt (September 7) – an ‘art treasure hunt’ that lets people explore the south coast while getting the chance to win a postcard sized original artwork.
A spokesperson said: “Look out for work by painter and multi Royal Academy Summer Show prize winner, Geraldine Swayne, minimalist photographer Alessandra Spranzi, currently exhibiting in Bologna, and recent award-winning graduate of Sussex Coast College, Hastings.”
Click here to find out more.
The Open Studios return for two weekends (August 31-September 1 and September 7-8) at various venues in Seaford, Eastbourne, Battle, Bexhill, Hastings, Fairlight, St Leonards, Rye and Pett. People can follow the artists’ trails, explore the area, talk to creators in their studios and buy or commission pieces. There is a map of the exhibitions at coastalcurrents.org.uk.
Finally, the festival will continue its tradition of curating street art. Some of its most long-standing collaborators – including Zeroh, Peter Quinnell, Shuby, Drew Copus and Benjamin Phillips – are repurposing BT exchange boxes and turning them into freestanding artworks.
Programmes are now available throughout the region.
Coastal Currents is devised and curated by Sweet & Dandy Ltd. This is a Hastings-based full service marketing and events agency run by marketing strategist Tina Morris. Visit sweetanddandy.co.uk. Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art, which in the past five years has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire pieces for their collections. Visit artfund.org.
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