Alphabet Art comes to Black Rock

More than 200 Brighton & Hove residents braved the stormy weather last week to attend two special drop-in sessions and find out how plans to regenerate the Eastern Seafront are progressing.

Warm welcome

Representatives from the council’s Eastern Seafront Masterplan, Madeira Terrace and Black Rock project teams were on hand to welcome visitors to Concorde 2 and St Georges Crypt in Kemptown and guide them through the information boards with up-to-date information on the three projects.

Following the events, all visitors were invited to complete feedback forms and around 50 have already been returned. Initial feedback has included many positive comments and shows that residents and stakeholders are keen to see the proposals make progress.

Alphabet for Black Rock

Visitors also enjoyed a sneak preview of An Alphabet for Black Rock a, unique artists’ commission designed to enhance the area while work continues, which is being installed along this week.

Earlier this year, Brighton & Hove City Council commissioned thirteen artists to create a unique alphabet of posters to reflect the nature of the Eastern seafront and draw attention to the project.

Unique geology

The participating artists, who include illustrators, photographers, a traditional sign writer, graphic novelists, comic artists, a typographer and muralists, were nominated by local artists and arts organisations.

Artists Maria Amidu, Hannah Berry, David Blandy, Nik the Brush, Atlas Easton, Hannah Eaton, Martin Glover, Daniel Locke, Fraser Muggeridge, Danny Noble, Wumi Olaosebikan, Simon Roberts and Martin Seeds were each allocated two letters from the alphabet, including two BSL (British Sign Language) letters, and asked to create designs that reflect the nature of the site, its unique geology, and ecology.

Native plants

The artists were inspired by the relationship between the black rocks that give the area its name and their role in aiding the re-population of sea kale, whose seeds float out to sea and need to be smashed open on the rocks to kickstart germination.

Using this visual alphabet, the names of locally native plant species being retained and re-introduced to Black Rock as part of the rejuvenation project, will be spelled out across the fence.

Packs of the alphabet posters will be also distributed to local schools next year as part of the education activities being proposed for the new education centre at Black Rock.


CouncillorTom Druitt, chair of the Black Rock Member Task and Finish Group, said: “It’s been fascinating to see ‘An Alphabet for Black Rock' evolve from the initial concept, and how each artist has reflected their own unique style and interpretation of the theme.

“It will be exciting to see this alphabet used extensively over the coming months to help inform and educate visitors, while highlighting the unique qualities of this very special and well-loved section of our world-famous seafront.”

Range of techniques

An Alphabet for Black Rock has been constructed using a wide range of techniques from cyanotypes exposed on the beach in Black Rock and developed using sea water, to collage and ink drawings on Japanese paper.

The first posters will be installed later this week along the walkway from Kemptown enclosures and A259 subway into Marina ASDA.

Percent for Art

Artists Katie Schwab and Alex May and Anna Dumitriu have also been appointed to create permanent commissions on the site which will be installed next spring and summer.

The projects are being funded by the Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the Percent for Art initiative.

More information

We have developed a full section of webpages on the Black Rock rejuvenation programme of works, that will be regularly updated throughout the project.

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