Eastbourne arts hub celebrates its launch with series of creative events

The Devonshire Collective runs until February
The Devonshire Collective runs until February

An ambitious new arts hub in Eastbourne is celebrating its opening by launching a series of events, kickstarting this month (October).

Based on Seaside Road, Devonshire Collective is a new creative and cultural centre that features studios, workshops, galleries and a café for the benefit of local artists and the public.

It launches this year and, thanks to a £30,000 grant from Arts Council England, has produced a programme of events that will give a taste of the kind of projects the Collective will offer.

There’s something to please everybody, with exhibitions, sculpture making, theatre classes, comedy, a rap video workshop with charity AudioActive and even a dance masterclass with the world famous Jasmin Vardimon Company.

The events, starting from October 24, are suited for both professional and amateur artists, with a mix of community, youth and family-oriented workshops available.

The hub’s first visual art exhibition, called Collective: Greater Than the Sum of the Parts, runs from December 9 to January 7. It is curated by Judith Alder and will feature her works alongside works from Hermione Allsopp, Rachel Cohen, Susannah Douglas, Axel Hesslenberg, Suzanne O’Haire, Liv Pennington, Charlotte Still, Clare Whistler, Victoria Threlfall and Alexandra Valy.

Meanwhile, family sculpture workshops, called Birds Eye View, will be led by Lucy Dean on October 26 and 27 and Claire Somerville-Perkins will run printmaking workshops, which combine reminiscence and letter press design sessions at the Pie and Mash shop,

And Seila Hay and Claire Shoosmith from Eastbourne Studio Pottery will work with local retailers to create community project, Ceramic Storyboard and Souvenirs.

The events are bursting with local talent, with artist and curator Judith Alder, sculptor Lucy Dean, and – fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe – comedian Jo Neary among those involved.

Devonshire Collective also aims to integrate with the community by working with local businesses and culture, with the Hippodrome Theatre and Leaf Hall as collaborative partners, as well as having links to the Towner Gallery.

Project manager Christine Harmar Brown said, “This is a development and support opportunity for Eastbourne artists.

“It’s open to all. If you are interested that’s the most important thing.

“You don’t need to have any skills, you will be surprised what you will be able to give and get out of it.”

She said the Devonshire Collective is all about “social inclusion, talking to people, being involved, expressing yourself, doing something different and sharing something that is not commercial.“

She said that though art may not seem like a direct way to help people, it is an important way to bring a community together.

The hub comes as part of the Driving Devonshire Forward initiative, which aims to regenerate the ward through engaging the community and boosting social cohesion.

In addition to Eastbourne Borough Council’s commitment to the project, Devonshire Collective has been made possible by securing funding from Devonshire West Big Local and East Sussex County Council.

DC3, the workshop space at 1-5 Seaside, is ready now, while the Cafe and Gallery at DC1 is scheduled to open on November 17, and the studio spaces at DC2 are expected to be ready to view by mid November.

All events, which run up to February next year, are to be booked in advance at www.devonshirecollective.co.uk/events, and for more information visit the Devonshire Collective website or social media pages.