Illuminating West Street: A Winter Salon
In December 2017 we teamed up with Hastings based visual artist Lorna Crabbe to produce a suitably strange and eclectic Christmas event for the Old Town. Taking place across three nights, our Winter Salon invited audiences to weave a journey through the Old Town and focus upon an often overlooked Hastings street…West Street.
Illuminated by street décor created by local artists, audiences created their own magical alternative Christmas experience and soaked up the festive atmosphere with a tantalising mix of surreal comedy, magic and street spectacle. There was a huge snail, glamorous assistants, a pencil sharpening service, a Lady Di angel, a collection of pink panthers and a rather cheeky white rabbit!
The combination of open artist studios, performances, installations and side-shows helped animate what is often a neglected and unloved street tucked away in Hastings Old Town. The Winter Salon took place in doorways, passageways, round street corners, inside bookshops, studios and restaurants. It was part of the Old Town Spirit of Christmas Weekend which aims to increase trade and footfall in the old historic part of Hastings. All of our events were entirely FREE. To see a lovely film of the weekend made by Hastings based artist Lee Shearman, click here.
Over the weekend we had a visit from Sybil, the spectacularly large and colourful snail from the Insect Circus and Duo Bogof entertained passers by with a fabulous combination of film, magic and comedy. Local artist collective Radiator Arts illuminated our way with street decorations and light interventions, helping us to find the open studios where we could see work by Hastings based artists. Heads were tuned by Peter Quinell’s Grotoesque (a wonderfully distorted version of Santa’s grotto!) and independent book shop and bindery Hare & Hawthorn welcomed us in to browse and look around. Families crafted their own reindeer antlers and then enjoyed some storytelling and singing with artist and illustrator Ed Boxhall. On Saturday evening audiences cosied up for a rendition of Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, read by Anthony Roberts (Director of Colchester Arts Centre), with music accompaniment by Jamie Cuncliffe. Bar donations collected that evening were given to the local Snowflake Night Shelter. Our winter salon ran alongside the popular Hastings Old Town Spirit of Christmas event.
Image credits: All pictures by Chris Broughton