Art unites school run and the torch

Art exhibition Beyond the Torch Run, The Crypt Gallery, Seaford.''Kristina Veasey (org) with artists
Art exhibition Beyond the Torch Run, The Crypt Gallery, Seaford.''Kristina Veasey (org) with artists

IT STARTED with the school run and the Olympic torch being paraded through Lewes.

This week it culminated in Beyond the Torch Run, an exhibition of work at Seaford’s Crypt Gallery created during community engagement workshops funded by Arts Council England and the idea of Seaford former Paralympian Kristina Veasey.

Kristina, part of Britain’s wheelchair basketball team at the Paralympics in 2000 and 2004, wanted to bring together art and the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“It orginated in my school run to Lewes which is an hour round trip twice a day,” she said.

“It’s such beautiful countryside and it made me feel emotionally full - a great start to the day.

“I decided to stop every day and photograph things and I wondered if other people saw these things or just drove past and didn’t notice.”

This was also the time when the torch was due to come through and Kristina set up five workshops at different settings.

“That is what struck me about this area,” she said. “There is the beach, villages, industrial Newhaven, parks - a broad spectrum - and I wanted to bring in people from all backgrounds and ages.”

Workshops catered for ages four to pushing 80, different abilities and used different media.

“We were trying to attract people who didn’t think of themselves as arty people.

“Half of them said they didn’t but when you look at their work it is really creative.

“It’s great to see what started off as a love for the area come to fruition from applications for funding to getting local support, the Inspire Mark and it all coming together.”

People of all ages and abilities were invited to help build a map through an interactive website http://www.beyondthetorchrun.co.uk/

By uploading their artwork, photos, poems, memories, songs and tweets a map will be created that shows the area from a local perspective.

The website will be available to view for two years, enabling visitors from near and far to discover the hidden gems of the area according to locals, and the map is also due to be printed.

Kristina said there is talk of extending the exhibition to other places and her school run photos are still on show at Whistles Cafe at Seaford station.