Gems found on the doorstep in Lewes

Putting the magazine together: From left,  Maja Prausnitz Hendrickson, Samira Harris, Larry Lush and Carinan Blij

Putting the magazine together: From left, Maja Prausnitz Hendrickson, Samira Harris, Larry Lush and Carinan Blij

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Under the threat of losing their businesses, the artists and community groups on the Phoenix Estate in Lewes have created an 80-page magazine to document what is happening there.

The magazine also offers a guide to the Phoenix Festival this weekend which last year attracted more than 2,000 visitors.

At the core of The Phoenix Arts Quarterly is the passionate desire to celebrate and safe­guard the breadth of talent and vitality which is found on the Phoenix Estate.

The magazine’s artistic director, Samira Harris, said: “It felt really important to document the phenomena that has occurred over the last decade. We have one of the largest and most diverse creative scenes in the country and yet so many people are unaware of the gems on their doorstep.

“It would be a real shame if this was all demolished especially without local people having a chance to enjoy it fully. The magazine started as a 20-page guide for the Phoenix Festival but when we asked people on the estate if they wanted to be involved the sheer weight of enthusiasm morphed our guide into a full scale magazine!”

The Phoenix Estate currently attracts more than 1,800 people per week to use its facilities, has 92 workshops and studios and 16 venues. It is calculated that more than 450 jobs are at risk and most businesses would be forced out of Lewes if Santon’s current development plans for the North Street Quarter go through.

The Phoenix Festival tomorrow (Saturday) will be a chance to see exactly what is happening and join in with the free activities.

There is a full workshop schedule over three venues with many fun activities for both children and adults.

It is recommended you arrive early to book your workshop with the main information point on the corner of North Street and Phoenix Place open from 11am.

There will also be more than 30 stalls, dozens of open studios and three stages showcasing local musical talent including operatic star Sam Chara, popular band Rabbit Foot and even a ceilidh on the Starfish Stage.

The festival will be officially opened by Lewes MP Norman Baker at noon.