Painting the Prom
A community-led project decorating a stretch of “suntrap” booths on the lower promenade of St Leonards seafront with murals designed by local residents.
Phase One of the project took place in 2021. In the summer of 2022 the PTP working group met a number of times, with the support of Rebecca Sinker, to put together a funding proposal for Part Two of the project. This second phase will expand the number of murals along the St Leonards seafront, taking a similar community engagement approach as Part One.
The designs for each of the 17 individual booths were created via:
- Public call-out for nine local artists to submit artworks
- Commissioned artwork from four local community organisations
- ‘Design a mural’ competition in four local primary schools
Details of the final 17 murals below
The Painting the Prom Digital Gallery featuring all the submissions from the public call-out and the schools competition is also now available to view.
Throughout March 2021 a call-out for local artists to create a new artwork for the seafront took place.
From 161 submissions, a selection panel of local residents and artists selected seven designs.
The public call-out selection panel consisted of Sue Tilley, Damian Etherington, Drew Copus, Linda King and Susan Diamond. The selection meeting was facilitated by Rosie Cooper.
The Painting the Prom team then selected the final two of the following nine artists to make their mural designs a reality:
“A psychedelic sunset seascape, showing some iconic parts of Hastings; the pier in full swing with a band playing, bright coloured lights illuminating above and into the stars. A fishing boat, the “Anne-Marie” in the foreground which I’ve added as a tribute to my parents – my Dad is the man on it, the boat named after my Mum.
I’ve lived in Hastings all my life and it made sense to paint it and I thought a traditional seascape wouldn’t do the town justice when the town is made of bright, artistic people who daydream and don’t take themselves too seriously.”
“My piece entitled ‘No Signal’, is intended as a whimsical twist on post-lockdown life, as (hopefully) we turn our backs on our televisions (tablets/laptops etc) and enjoy the “real” and beautiful view of our lovely coast.
I chose the TV as it’s roots are in Hastings, and I went for an older style set to invoke nostalgia and to demonstrate the constant progression of technology. I feel that the mural would offer a fun photo opportunity and also wonder how younger people will react to this pre-flatscreen monolith!”
Andrew & Eden Kotting
“The mural would be inspired by a series of ‘dreamwork’ paintings that we have been collaborating on for the last year and which take a self-portrait image of Eden in her Jack-in-the Green head garland as a starting point. Recurring themes of flowers, mouths, teeth, words, fish, stars bubbles and wood grain would be explored.”
“The inspiration for my mural is possessed inflatable seaside toys.”
“During the pandemic I think a lot of people have been day dreaming of trips away, probably to some sunny destination! Myself included. But I often stopped to think how lucky I was at a time like this to live where we do, with our own little holiday destination on the door step.
This led me to the idea of creating a 30’s style postcard design – to pay tribute to when the suntrap booths were built and maybe remind us how sweet it is to be by the sea.”
Jazmine Miles Long
“I am a local ethical taxidermist, artist and educator. I would like to create a ‘field guide’ to the birds you can see when sitting on this bench. It is important to me as an artist working with nature that the residents and visitors to St Leonards-On-Sea understand that the birds on the beach are not pests but are in fact residents themselves and an incredibly important part of the beach’s biodiversity.
The mural depicts seven species that I love watching at the goat ledge beach and I hope to educate and inspire passers by to also spot and respect them.”
Nichelle Kelleher: Belonging
“Belonging represents the unconditional love between mother and daughter, auntie and nieces and sisterhood. I wanted people to see themselves in the art. To bring a sense of belonging to people who would not normally see themselves represented within St Leonards. This is for my sisters.”
Nichelle worked on her design with local mural artist Aaron Hosannah.
“Sitting in a sun drenched booth with the sounds of Arabic music wafting from the Goat Ledge cafe, I am transported back to a sunny and warm courtyard in the Alhambra Palace, Grenada, where I am surrounded by cool and beautiful tiled mosaics. My proposal is based on an existing Alhambra wall tile pattern.”
“I wanted to focus on the pebble beach, the individual pebbles. You sit in the booth and look at the sea, over a strip of beach, but it’s full of totally unique pebbles. This made me connect it to all the people walking past. We’re all those pebbles, all unique, individual, but in this together. Why be divided? “Our differences don’t have to divide us”, that was my daydream, sitting there.”
The following four local charity partners worked with their participants to create a mural design:
Seaview is a wellbeing centre offering help and inspiration for people living on society’s margins. For Painting the Prom they worked with their dedicated Arts Worker Rebecca Child who held a series of workshop sessions with Denise and Frances, regular attendees to the day centre, supporting them to design and paint the mural.
The Refugee Buddy Project
The Refugee Buddy Project offers help to the Syrian families entering our community through the Syrian Resettlement Project. For Painting the Prom they workshopped with their participants to select a mural design which was co-created and painted by local artists Helen Dodaki and Sarah Gomes Harris assisted by Lily Dodaki, Nareem Dodaki and Hassan Kafaya.
The Eggtooth Project
The Eggtooth Project work to co-create systemic resilience in children, young people, parents and families in Hastings. For Painting the Prom their Visual Arts Lead Sarah Evans worked with Billi Jennings, one of their young artists, to design and paint their own mural with support from local artist Luke Brabants.
FSN provides professional caring action for children and young people in Hastings. For Painting the Prom their Artist Lead Heather Stuart held workshops with a group of their younger participants on a mural design which was then painted by Heather with help from Oscar, Phoebe, Isaac (age 9) and Brandon (age 8).
Four primary schools worked together with Alex Marden and Pip Johnson from the Paining the Prom team to implement a ‘Design a Mural’ competition with their students.
Over 100 entries were received and the following winning four entries from each school were decided by Alex and Pip alongside the Painting the Prom team.
Sonny Munro (age 8)
“Lots of people have been talking about COVID. So I wanted everybody to feel a bit calmer by coming to see my picture and to forget about COVID for a while. I was imagining what it would be like to fly in the sky and play on fluffy clouds, to escape from the virus.” Sonny attends Christ Church CofE Primary Academy
Indigo Park (age 5)
“I love tigers and I thought about a magic tiger spreading love and light to everyone. I also love the ocean so I drew him juggling crabs with his tail. I love drawing because it’s fun while I’m doing it and then at the end I’ve made a wonderful thing that you can keep.” Indigo attends St Leonard’s CEP Academy
Sanjana Suthersan (age 11)
“It came to me because it pictures what a daydream is like in people’s minds. I love art because I like the way it makes me feel… I like drawing a lot of things and being creative (and sometimes not). It’s what I do everyday!” Sunjana attends St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Primary
Isla Hopkins (age 8)
“I was imagining a sunny summers day with buzzing bees. The flowers have faces so they can talk to the bee and the bee is big because he’s eaten a lot of nectar. I love being creative because it makes me happy.” Isla Hopkins attends St Paul’s CE Academy
Painting the Prom worked with two local artists (Laura Hindmarsh and Greg Smart) to work alongside Pip Johnson and the selected children to make their designs a reality by painting them in the booth.
Pip Johnson is a local artist, with work rooted in drawing, surface and collage. Alongside this, she has worked as a designer/maker for a variety of sets and displays, as well as facilitating creative workshops and community projects.
Laura Hindmarsh is a visual artist, technician and educator living and working between Australia and East Sussex.
Greg Smart is a Fine Artist with a studio based practice that concentrates on Painting and Drawing. He also works within the Film and Theatre industry as a Scenic Artist.
PAINTING the PROM is a community-led project to decorate St Leonards seafront, as a way to encourage people to feel more connected, proud and invested in the place they live, whilst providing vital economic support to local artists.
PTP is conceived and organised by St Leonards residents Will Stevens, along with a Working Group of local residents: Ann Tucker, Rosie Cooper, Alison Cooper, Harriet McMorrow, Alex Marden and Pip Johnson. The project was further assisted by Kathryn Johnson.
Producing and administrative support is provided by local arts charity Home Live Art
The Mural images above were taken by Chloe Dewe Mathews
PTP is funded by Good Stuff in St Leonards, part of the Creative Civic Change programme supported by Big Lottery Fund, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Local Trust
A special thanks to Brewers Decorating Centre for donating the paint for the project.