Jerwood on the Stade in Hastings

oldtown1thThe Old Town is a vibrant and much loved area of Hastings that was built before the 19th century. Some streets still have rows of medieval houses, and the shingle beach, known as the Stade, is home to the biggest beach-launched fishing fleet in Britain. Big development has in many ways bypassed Hastings, which is why a lot of its eccentric and unique character is preserved. A unique economy and way of life has developed which is now challenged by big business,  the Jerwood Foundation. The Jerwood have applied to be given the Stade for free so that they can build an art gallery to house their ever expanding collection of 20th  and 21st century art. Art has been used successfully by regional governments to aid re-generation so the politicians are falling over themselves, but is it always right to remove small local businesses to make room for regional concerns? And is the formula strong enough to repeat over and over again in all of Britain’s seaside towns? DeLa Warr Pavillion in neighboring Bexhill is struggling to attract big enough audiences – yet  the building is a modernist icon and they have a fabulously talented staff.  Entry ito the De la Warr is free, Jerwood will charge, but refuse to say how much. Since their exhibition will be mainly static, and not open to local artists,  I can’t help wondering how relevant it will be to Hastings.
The arguments for the establishment of the Jerwood art gallery is that it will bring affluent people to the area. The argument against building it on the Stade  is that already established small business will be removed, the Old Town will be carved up by new road and parking schemes and most locals can’t afford, or would be reluctant, to pay entrance fees to look at art collected for people and by people whos aspirations and ideals are alien to them. Many Old Towners are also worried about extra traffic clogging up the narrow medieval roads.  The question is, could the Jerwood be persuaded to accept another site in Hastings?

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About Anna

I am a ceramic sculptor living on the South coast near London, England. My work is influenced by my experience of the earth as a living being and seeing how we are all connected with eachother and with the things that surround us. I create ceramic torsos using molochite clay which I often smokefire in galvanised dustbins. I also make House Gods to protect and amuse, and Fat Birds - little smokefired sculptures that tell the story about what it is like to be a fat bird at peace with its surroundings.
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