Artist puts Phoenix Industrial Estate in Lewes on the map

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A local artist, inspired by the vibrant culture of the Phoenix Industrial Estate in Lewes, has created a quirky hand drawn map of the art spaces to be found there.

Samira Harris’ map combines a bird’s eye view of the buildings with detailed illustrations showing a range of activities, from screen printing to guitar making to an interesting looking party.

“I think that when some people see the industrial estate they just see the buildings,” said Samira. “I wanted to create a map which shows some of the people and activities happening within the buildings.

“The value of this estate is not about the buildings - it is about the community infrastructure the estate provides.”

The production of her map comes ahead of the free festival tomorrow (Saturday) when the Phoenix Artists’ Quarter will open itself up from noon until 8pm to show the town what is actually going on there.

Samira continued: “I have worked on the estate for more than five years and I have never experienced such a friendly vibrant community. We all help each other out with equipment and knowledge which means that all our businesses benefit.

“Many businesses have grown through these facilities providing jobs and benefiting all the community. It is also very rare to have the opportunity to work with so many creative people, many of whom are the best in their specialism. Even at university I did not experience this wealth of expertise.”

This is not the first time Samira has raised awareness about the Phoenix Estate. Last December she led a protest march to the council offices to present a petition to Lewes District Council on behalf of people using the estate.

“When I realised that the core strategy of the council was to knock down the estate I understood the need for affordable housing. However I personally still question whether the housing will be truly affordable and at what expense to the community? I started a survey to present to the council only four days before the core strategy was submitted and in that short time more than 2,000 people signed it asking for the estate to be protected.

“Although the councillors appeared sympathetic and added an amendment that our views should be taken into account, at the end of the day Santon owns the land and has the green light to knock down the existing buildings.

“I appreciate Santon has been fair to us by keeping our rent low and also giving us advance warning that by 2015 it plans to start building the new housing estate subject to planning permission going through. If nothing else I hope this map is a legacy of the amazing community we have here and that people come on Saturday to see what is happening while we are here.”