VIDEO: watch intricate sand art appear on West Wittering Beach

After bringing together the Chichester district’s great arts organisations in their big anniversary year last year, Culture Spark returns to keep the collaborations going.
The sand creationThe sand creation
The sand creation

2022 saw 60 years of Chichester Festival Theatre; ten years of the Festival of Chichester; 40 years of Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery; 30 years of Chichester Cinema at New Park’s international film festival; ten years of The Novium Museum; and 200 years of the Canal Trust.

Culture Spark wound down at the end of last year, but is now back in business for a series of events across the year – after Chichester District Council announced it would fund another two and a half years of events, live entertainment and community projects to celebrate the rich and diverse range of cultural and heritage experiences in the district.

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The project has received a total of £75,000 funding from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will now be used to extend the Culture Spark programme.

They launched the year with a community sand drawing workshop on West Wittering Beach at East Head car park. Visitors were able to watch artist Mark Antony Haden Ford, of Two Circles Design, work with the local community to create an artistic masterpiece, all of which was captured on film before the tide came in at 2pm. For Culture Spark’s next event, Mark will be creating a community landscape work of art in the grounds of Petworth House, from the wood cuttings that the gardeners gather. Culture Spark at Petworth House will take place on Friday, February 17 between 10am and 2pm. Families will be invited to get involved to help create the artwork, which will all be captured on film. Both of these activities are free to participate in or watch. In addition, workshops have also been taking place in schools and colleges across the district. Ten local professional artists are currently working with local groups and schools to create an exhibition, which will be held in Chichester and Petworth in March.

All the activities have been inspired by Pallant House Gallery’s current exhibition: Sussex Landscapes — chalk, wood and water.

Caroline Sharman-Mendoza, creative co-ordinator for the campaign, said: “The aim is for us to continue to build on the collaborative partnerships that have been emerging across the district. This year's theme is around how the environment and its sustainability can be expressed through arts and culture.

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“I also have ten local professional visual artists running workshops in schools/with community groups etc. We will have two pop-ups on March 18 and 19 (one in a South Street shop in Chichester, one in Petworth) where their work will be displayed, and there will be more free community workshops.”

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025.