Grand grant set to boost Newhaven festival

Christian Funnell, Newhaven. Grant given to Summer by the Sea Festival -

Christian Funnell, Newhaven. Grant given to Summer by the Sea Festival -

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Newhaven has won a £10,000 grant from the Arts Council to help stage next month’s Summer by the Sea festival.

A programme of open gardens and storytelling for adults at the lifeboat station will culminate in four days of events at Newhaven’s Hillcrest Community Centre over the August Bank Holiday.

The festival has been co-ordinated by Newhaven Arts, which also won an Arts Council award last year for its exhibition of paintings by Harold Mockford.

Harold will be showing paintings again at the Hillcrest, alongside artist Tom Hammick, who has long had connections with the town.

A film of the two painters in conversation was made earlier this year by Mick Hawksworth and will be shown over the bank holiday weekend.

Exhibiting with them will be two distinguished sculptors - Christian Funnell, who has a studio at the Hillcrest Centre, and Walter Bailey, who works in wood and lives on the Ashdown Forest.

Newhaven Arts has commissioned Christian, who produced Newhaven’s black cormorant, to create a new piece of sculpture to be sited at the Centre’s entrance.

Constructed from scrap metal, provided by a local boatyard, the sculpture will be a giant community tree and is being built on site over the coming weeks.

Walter is also making new pieces for the exhibition, inspired by the landscape of East Sussex.

The space where the four artists will be showing their work looks set to become a regular venue for exhibitions.

In addition, local photographer Kai Crick is taking over the main hall, with a collection of locally inspired pictures.

There will be a third exhibition in another room featuring three Hillcrest artists, Carol Havard, John Davies and Victor Stuart Graham.

Other events over the weekend include an evening of stand-up comedy on Friday, August 23; an afternoon of Wallace and Gromit films for children on Saturday and the French film Belleville Rendez-Vous for adults in the evening.

On Sunday the Town Twinning Association hosts a meal for French guests and their host families and on Bank Holiday Monday the centre is open all day for free writing workshops for adults; knit and natter; storytelling and art classes for children and Studio Tempo’s Tea Dance celebrating 60 years of dance in the area.

The festival will be officially opened by the Arts Council’s visual arts officer on Thursday evening, August 22, when the Hillcrest cafe will be open.

Joint festival co-ordinator Carole Buchan said this week: “Summer by the Sea celebrates the wealth of talent Newhaven has to offer, much of it focused on the Hillcrest Centre, which is very much at the heart of the community.”