Hove Civic Society: Where next for Public Art in our city

Where next for Public Art in our city

The dust has settled from the installation of Hove Plinth’s second sculpture and Flight of the Langoustine has now established itself as a new focus for attraction on the seafront promenade. It’s great to see how promenaders stop to gaze at the boisterous figures leaping for freedom, read the back story on the information board and take photograph. Thank you to all who have written to us with congratulations and positive feedback. We are delighted to see all the imaginative shots
posted on social media, even videos taken by drone! Have a look at our Instagram @hoveplinth and check the pictures posted by others on hashtag #hoveplinth.

As part of Hove Civic Society’s Talks programme, Pierre Diamantopoulo gave a riveting account and video show at Ralli Hall in November, of how Flight of the Langoustine was created. The audience was spellbound by the magic, wizardry and sheer hard work that has been involved in creating this monumental sculpture. As one visitor commented: “I was bowled over by the complicated and numerous stages of this project and now realise why it took so long to come to fruition”. I do hope there will be opportunity to repeat the talk at some point for those who missed it and also for a wider audience.

Work is progressing on creating a new plinth for Constellation in the gardens of Hove Museum of Creativity and on planning a series of community workshops to involve people in restoring the ten icons by re-gilding parts that have been worn down by the onslaught of weather at the seafront. We are very pleased to be collaborating with museum staff on this. Each workshop will be about 2 hours and take place at the Hove Museum. They will be led by the Constellation sculptor Jonathan Wright, and the materials (gold leaf) will be provided. It’s a great opportunity for people to learn restoration skills and be part of public art. The workshops will take place in April – specific dates still to be fixed. There will also be an inauguration event in May to celebrate the installation of Constellation at the Museum. We will keep everyone posted on dates as soon as they are known.

So, with Flight of the Langoustine on the seafront, Constellation at Hove Museum and the planned new sculpture commissions at the Moda Sackville Road development (see article in this issue) we are beginning to see a trail of significant new public art in Hove. We think there is much opportunity to develop this further. With its many open vistas along the seafront and generous streetscape, the western part of the city – from the Peace statue all the way to Portslade – offers unparalleled opportunities to be ambitious for public art in the city, with space enough to develop art trails which can feature major world class sculpture from local, national and international artists. And thinking about the seafront, why not create a trail that connects the Brighton end commissions from the 1990’s – Kiss Wall, Afloat and Passagaglia – with Hove Plinth by adding further installations in between. This could include both temporary and permanent installations and would be a significant contribution towards implementing the Brighton & Hove Art Strategy’s goal, “the creation of contemporary spaces that bring together the nature and culture and are loved by the community and visitors”.

Call it what you want – Sculpture in our City or Brighton Open Air Gallery – but let’s be ambitious for our city and engage the major cultural players in
a dialogue of how we can bring something like this about.

Article by Karin Janzon, Hove Civic Society

Hove Civic Society

Vision is that Hove leads the way in preserving and creating attractive and sustainable Space for People to live work and enjoy now and in the future.