A fire show in Newhaven last year with dancers

Newhaven Enterprise Zone boosts art scene with £160,000

A programme of grassroots arts events will continue in Newhaven thanks to £160,000 of funding from Newhaven Enterprise Zone.

Art gallery Towner Eastbourne will use the money to stage a series of small to medium scale creative events across Newhaven during 2024 to build on its success.

Towner Eastbourne immediately named five creative organisations to benefit from funding, including theatre groups Play On and Ignite Theatre, who will stage new productions, plus Haven Young Creatives, who will bring the popular Harbour Lights winter lantern parade back for a second year.

Arts group KP Projects also received funding for Blazing Saddles, an outdoor performance celebrating the role of women in the development of cycling, while Edgeland Modern received a grant for a new documentary film production based on the River Ouse.

Corinne Day, programme director, Newhaven Enterprise Zone, said: “The grassroots arts events held in Newhaven last year were fantastic for both the residents and for raising awareness of the town as a place to visit, live and base a business, thus boosting local pride and the economy.

“We cannot wait to see what Towner Eastbourne and all our arts organisations deliver in Newhaven this year.”

Last year’s programme of arts events, which also received funding from Newhaven Enterprise Zone, helped attract more than 120,000 visitors to the town.

The ‘Following Ravilious’ trail featured giant billboards showcasing the artist’s work, accompanied by responses from contemporary artists and was staged across four locations in Newhaven for three months.

Nick Stockman, Newhaven creative producer at Towner Eastbourne, said: “Art helps to create vibrant places, influencing decisions about where to live and set up a business, so it’s a key part of the jigsaw in helping Newhaven to grow.

“We were so pleased with the results we delivered which included attracting 122,000 visitors to the Ravilious art trail alone. This represented ten times the population of Newhaven.

“It’s fantastic to see the funding continue from Newhaven Enterprise Zone and we are looking forward to working on our plans and making some exciting announcements soon.”

Events also included Edgeland Modern’s exhibition at the Marine Workshops, which attracted more than 1,500 visitors, exhibitions at Newhaven Art Projects, Newhaven Festival, productions by Ignite Theatre and the Harbour Lights Lantern Procession, to name a few.

Local businesses which supported last year’s cultural programme included Boutique Modern, Prismaflex and Austin’s Cradles Scaffolders.

Nick added: “Newhaven and Sussex residents are so incredibly proud of Ravilious – the love for this artist lives on even 80 years after his departure.

“People in the town and visitors responded really well to our programme. It helped challenge perceptions about the place and the landscape.

“It also encouraged people to walk around and explore the town and port, while viewing the urban, industrial and rural landscapes that they might not have otherwise experienced.”

Newhaven community arts and wellbeing organisation Hospitable Environment has also received support and investment from Newhaven Enterprise Zone and is now in its third year of growth.

Creative director Lizzie Lower said: “Last year, Hospitable Environment alone ran more than 20 events in and around Newhaven, hosting more than 1500 local residents and visitors to celebrate the town, its cultural history and the people who live here.

“Together with the other creative groups and individuals working here, and with investment from the NEZ, we can offer the community dozens of ways to be involved and to explore their own creativity, as well as building on the rich and vibrant cultural heritage that Newhaven has always enjoyed.”

Joe Hill, CEO and director at Towner Eastbourne, said: “Towner is delighted to be working with the Newhaven Enterprise Zone to continue to support creative activity in the town in 2024.

“Last year was highly successful and we aim to maintain the momentum in 2024 by developing a programme that works with local people to deliver imaginative and exciting arts experiences.”

Photo: The ‘Amor’ show in Newhaven last year – © Phoebe Wingrove with permission from Towner Eastbourne

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