Investment for roundabout art

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THE seafront is to become the home of a fresh new piece of artwork by next year.

Fairlight Arts Trust is investing £120,000 towards the artwork at Pelham roundabout in Breeds Place and has approached Hastings Borough Council with the offer to work together to make the project a reality.

Councillors gave their unanimous support for it at their cabinet meeting on Monday.

Simon Hubbard, the council’s director of regeneration, said: “This will help Hastings develop its reputation as a destination on the public arts map.

“The Pelham roundabout is currently home to a 1960s fountain which, while being a popular feature of the town, has in recent years begun to look tired and in need of improvement.

The new artwork on this site has the potential to be a crucial landmark, linking the recent developments at The Stade on the seafront and the Old Town with Hastings town centre and drawing visitors along the seafront towards attractions, such as the White Rock Theatre and St Leonards.”

Fairlight Arts Trust was set up by David and Sarah Kowitz. It has employed a selection panel made up of ex-Hastings MP and Freeman of the Borough of Hastings Michael Foster, internationally renowned artists Michael Craig-Martin and Gavin Turk, Toby Clarke, director of London’s Vigo Gallery and David Kowitz.

Seven artists have been invited to submit outline ideas for the artwork and a shortlist of three artists will be selected by the panel and asked to present their schemes for public exhibition later this month.

The public will be invited to express their opinions and preferences on the exhibited designs and these will be taken into consideration by the panel when making the final selection of the artwork, which is to be announced next month.

Installation is expected to take place in Spring next year.

Cllr Peter Chowney, lead member for regeneration, said: “This is a very exciting project, and I’m very grateful to Fairlight Arts Trust for its £120,000 funding for this project.

“When the final work is chosen, created and installed, we will have an iconic artwork in a prominent location, putting Hastings on the map for public art.”

Council leader Jeremy Birch said: “This will help to raise the profile in the cultural world for Hastings.

“This is an outstanding offer we have been given that provides a real opportunity.”

Hastings MP Amber Rudd said: “I was delighted to take the Kowitz’s into the council to make this generous proposal now nearly two years ago.

“It is encouraging to hear that work is now seriously underway for an iconic new work of art to stand in such a central Hastings location.”