Pells Pool in Lewes appoints its first artist-in-residence

Artist Emily Stevens with a her painting Contemplating, which she created at Pells Pool last summer
Artist Emily Stevens with a her painting Contemplating, which she created at Pells Pool last summer

A popular Lewes venue has announced it will welcome an artist-in-residence for the first time.

Pells Pool, on Brook Street, has appointed artist Emily Stevens, who exhibits her work at the town's Chalk Gallery, in the role for its 2019 season.

The news comes ahead of the outdoor pool opening tomorrow (May 4) for its first swimming session of the year and after writer Tanya Shadrick became the venue's first writer-in-residence in 2016.

Emily, who lives in Hove, says she has been a regular at Pells Pool for years and that the residency is a 'brilliant opportunity'.

She says it came about ‘organically’ after she asked the pool if she could paint and draw there last summer.

She said: "I adore Pells Pool. I love swimming and painting there, and my wish is to bring art – drawing and painting – into a more accessible and less intimidating presence in our local community."

Emily, who studied drawing and illustration at the University of Brighton's School of Art, prefers to paint outside and works mainly in acrylic.

She is hoping to be at the pool three or four times a week to share her work and encourage others to be creative and she will be running a weekly pool-side drop-in drawing session for adults. She will also be working on the creation of a mural for the end wall of the pool in conjunction with Lewes children.

Emily said: "I want to be present there as much as I can painting. My goal is to just paint and draw there and really engage with people there.

"I got some great feedback last summer to what I was doing."

Manager of the pool Phil Ransley said they are hoping the appointment will engage and inspire pool-goers.

He said: “Pells is a real community resource for Lewes and supporting artistic endeavour is a great thing for us to be able to do.

"Emily has already produced some remarkable pictures at the Pells in 2018, which beautifully capture the spirit of swimming and being here."