By Tina Morris, director of Coastal Currents

I’m proud to say that by the time you read this, four new pieces of street art will have been installed in Hastings. What a lot of energy it has taken and certainly a drop of bravery, luck and sheer determination, but I dearly hope this opens up several new spaces in town for artists for the future.

REQ on Queen’s Road
PICTURE: REQ @reqimage of SMUDGE

Last year Bottle Alley was transformed for Coastal Currents in a way that was designed to last. This project taught me is that it is worth fighting for permanent pieces in the public realm. They enhance people’s lives in a way which no pop-up exhibition or Opening Party seems to. They can change the way people see their town, enhance their feeling of belonging or give something extra to a space that allows people to love it that little bit more. People go out of their way to see them, they enliven and even add a drop of cool. Bottle Alley has less dog poo now, less graffiti and fewer needles. There are more cyclists and countless Instagram shots, it brightens people’s commutes to work and even housed a dinner party called Rendezvous Blanc. I learn that no matter what the intentions for a piece might be when it sits in the Coastal Currents programme, it takes on a life of its own when passed back to the public.

Coastal Currents can change the town for a month or it can change the town for a very long time. The approach I’ve taken is about creating a plethora of projects connecting hundreds of artists and engaging as much of the town as possible in the spirit of “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

Etienne Le Comte at Robertson Street
PICTURE: Coastal Currents

So look out for a new mural on Queens Road by REQ, Etienne Le Comte’s intricate designs covering the hoardings in Robertson street, Drew Copus’ angel and Ed Boxall’s West Hill mural. They not only add a little sparkle, they form a kind of connecting tissue to tie the festival together and embed it in the town for the long term.

Hundreds of passers-by have already engaged with these works by asking what they are, why they are, who we are, and this demonstrates the power of public pieces and the pride that is tangible already even before they are finished. 

For those that have been following the street art path we’ve been on for the last few
years, and certainly the last few articles in the Hastings Indie, this is an exciting update. Thanks to everyone who has helped with this journey and I am still up for more public art, bring it on!

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