New community cafe and exhibition space to open in St Leonards

The community cafe and exhibition space. Photo by Richard Platt
The community cafe and exhibition space. Photo by Richard Platt

A new community cafe and exhibition space is set to open in St Leonards next week with a photography show.

The launch of OPEN, at 19 Grand Parade, on Thursday will be celebrated with a new photography exhibition called From Hastings, With Love.

The community cafe and exhibition space. Photo by Richard Platt

The community cafe and exhibition space. Photo by Richard Platt

OPEN, as well as being an exhibition space and community cafe, will host a range of workshops and be available for hire for events and pop-up activities.

Organisers said the aim is to feature artists who are not usually able to show their work, but all enquiries about hiring the space would be welcome.

OPEN will operate out of the same space as other businesses currently at the site, such as Yard & Quarter, Hairdresser James Nash, On the Wall, Framing with Dominic the Framer, and 55 Prints, a new screen-printing company.

It will be run by volunteers and overseen by Rossana Leal, founder and director of the Hastings and Rother Buddy Project.

A poster for the exhibition From Hastings With Love by Andrew Grainger

A poster for the exhibition From Hastings With Love by Andrew Grainger

There are three desks to hire to the rear of the property - one of which is still available for hire.

The free launch event on Thursday (June 13) will run from 6pm to 8pm, with refreshments available.

The exhibition on display, From Hastings With Love, has been created by local photographer Andrew Grainger.

Mr Grainger has taken portraits of families who have arrived in the area as part of the Syrian Resettlement Project, alongside their buddies - the local volunteers who, as part of the Hastings and Rother Refugee Buddy Project, have been welcoming them to their new homes over the past 18 months.

Taken around the town in places chosen by the families and buddies themselves, Mr Grainger’s photographs give an emotional insight into the friendships which are being built by the local project.

The exhibition will be on display at the space until July 12.

The Hastings & Rother Refugee Buddy Project was set up in 2017 and currently supports 20 families in the area.

Buddies offer support of various kinds to the families starting a new life the area - find out more about the project here.
Anyone wishing to attend the cafe launch on Thursday should RSVP to openopenbookings@gmail.com

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