Three Covid postponements have dogged the project so far, but organisers are hoping all will be well for a four-week run from July 22-August 15 at The VOLT Gallery, Thursday to Sunday each week, 11am-5pm. The project includes art, craft, pottery, writing and spoken word plus multiple visual arts (show films and photography).
The idea behind it is to create an overview of Eastbourne the people currently living there and its captivating places – “an ongoing collection of evidences using arts and crafts, photographic and film journaling, interviews and audio excerpts,” says Domenico Della Valle, day service manager, Eastbourne and District Mencap.
“It is a journey through a collective and/or personal diary, made in different forms and material, a collection of individual and communal statements and poems. It was supposed to be in 2020 but due to the Covid we had to shut down. It was supposed to be last June, but it was inevitable we couldn’t do it. It was impossible.”
Several further attempts later, it is now happening: “The artists are all people with learning disabilities. They are all under the umbrella of Eastbourne Mencap. They all attend a place called The Hive, a day centre for people with learning disabilities.”
The art is fun: “It is educational as well. We run courses. It is about getting involved in the activities and it is about being creative. Art helps them engage. It gives them a chance to put themselves out there doing something in a different way – a great opportunity to be out in the world.
“The age goes from very young, from about 22 onwards, people that have just left college, and the oldest is 93. We get through the door throughout the week about 40 to 50 people. We used to get more before Covid. We dropped down quite a lot. But it is going back up now and we are getting more people again. All of them are taking part in the exhibition. Everyone has chipped in. They have been working on it for quite a while. It will be collected together and framed and so on. Everyone who attends The Hive is taking part.”
Also coming up, on August 12, is a screening at Cineworld of the documentary Beyond the Disco, showing the making of a musical which was performed with great success at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre.