A BLIZZARD of contemporary art is about to transform Hastings into the cultural capital of the south east.
Organisers of the annual Coastal Currents festival have released the programme to a month-long showcase of creative talent.
And the first event - a stylish poster campaign to promote the festival - begins next week, ahead of a launch party on August 27.
Posters by eight internationally renowned artists including the Chapman brothers, Ben Eine and Maggi Hambling, all of whom have strong links to Hastings, will appear across 1066 Country from Monday (August 15).
Collectable postcard versions of the bespoke artwork, known as the Promenade project, will be scattered in cafes, pubs and galleries across town.
Organisers Lorna Crabbe and Sarah Yates, who began organising the festival from Lorna’s West Street sitting room, have this year set up an office in Stade Hall, where all are welcome to drop in and chat about the programme.
The pair promise this year’s line-up, featuring hundreds of artists and tens of projects, will be the busiest to date.
“This year, there’s a real focus on The Stade,” said Lorna. “Last year we spread out across Rother, but the Jerwood development has really concentrated interest on Hastings.”
The festival launches officially on Saturday, August 27. Spotlight - an evening of installations, performances and activities - begins at St Leonards Gardens at 4pm, before trailing along the seafront towards The Stade, and finishing in Wellington Square Gardens.
Sarah added: “We are trying to bring Hastings and St Leonards together. There’s always been a strange divide between the two communities, and Coastal Currents aims to bridge that.”
The ambitious programme reflects a re-branded Coastal Currents, with a sleeker look and growing national profile.
“We helped give the festival a bit of a make-over,” explained Neil Hetherington, of local artists’ group Zeroh. “We gave them a new logo, re-styled the brochure. The festival attracts national attention now, and it has to make the town look great on all levels.”
Programmes for Coastal Currents, with full details of listings, are available all over town, and from the festival office in Stade Hall. Check each week’s Observer for the pick of festival events. For more information, visit www.coastalcurrents.org.uk.