From the seafront Kiss Wall and the Norfolk Square Dolphins, to the annual Burning the Clocks parade and colourful lighting under the London Road viaduct, Brighton & Hove has public art woven into the city’s make up.
It is enjoyed by our many visitors and has a huge impact on life in the city.
Our year-round calendar of festivals and events provide a multitude of opportunities for temporary, creative and topical public art, from Brighton Fringe and Festival events to beach and street art, film and digital work.
Hundreds of creative organisations have made Brighton & Hove their home. It’s a place where talent from our schools, youth club and universities can be nurtured.
Future development and growth in the city will bring many more opportunities for public art, and this has led to the creation of an exciting new Public Art Strategy.
One landscape, many views
The strategy, One Landscape Many Views, provides a framework for public art in the city over the next 10 years.
The strategy has been put together following widespread conversations with people directly involved with public art in the city, from cultural and heritage organisations, community groups and residents to councillors, council staff and public funders.
These initial discussions were followed by a citywide consultation led by Lighthouse, a Brighton based arts charity, and included workshops and series of thought-provoking films about public art.
Embedding public art
The resulting Public Art Strategy is a shared vision of how we can embed public art into the fabric of the city reflecting its unique history, diverse communities, creativity, innovation and energy.
The strategy aims to:
- Enhance the quality of the public realm, including existing heritage sites and new environments
- Support the city’s cultural sector capturing and promoting the city’s creativity, diversity and personality
- Improve the city’s reputation as the most sustainable place to live, work and visit,
- Enhance the city’s current cultural offer and rich year-round programme of festivals and events
- Enable Brighton & Hove residents to experience high quality public art.
Public art can be permanent, temporary or time limited. It can be a performance or something to experience, contemplate or view, listen to, or participate in and can create connections between people, places and ideas.
People taking part in the consultation said they wanted the city to be greener, more accessible, inclusive and diverse. Innovative public art can be used to focus attention on these issues.
The strategy aims to improve the commissioning process for public art and support artists and neighbourhood projects, encouraging involvement and participation from residents.
The strategy will help artists, planners, enablers, investors and others to work effectively together, to provide contemporary spaces, supported by a new Public Art and Development Planning and Advice Note and Public Art Commissioning Toolkit.
New projects already planned for the city include a large-scale public artwork at Brighton Station, which is being commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council in partnership with Brighton CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts), University of Brighton.
Designed to welcome visitors to the city, artists have been developing proposals to reflect the history and culture of the city, its creativity, independence, and inclusivity.
The aim is for the artwork to speak to both locals, to the holidaymaker, the commuter and to families and become an iconic part of Brighton & Hove’s creative identity.
Surprise and challenge
Welcoming the new strategy, Council Leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “Public art can surprise, challenge and can provoke reactions. It can be humorous, subtle or contentious and, over time, it’s attracted criticism, love and hostility. It often reflects the way we see and understand our city, its history and the stories of people here.
“Public art brings value to our communities and very recently the subject of debate has raged once again with the Black Lives Matter protests. Think of Maggi Hambling’s Sculpture for Mary Wollstonecraft, Cosmo Sarson’s Mural of Neptune or Bruce Williams ‘Kiss Wall’- the first sculpture in the country featuring a same-sex kiss, here in the city. We all have an opinion about public art so it’s important that the city council talks about it too.
“Working together with artists, cultural and heritage organisations and the wider community we have produced the Public Art Strategy, with a public art toolkit for property developers, which is designed to enable more commissions in the city, helping Brighton & Hove’s artists to develop their practice in the public realm.
“In the coming weeks the council will announce a series of public art commissions across the city to align with the new public art strategy. This will build on Brighton & Hove’s long history of creativity and arts and culture and help sustain the city as a prosperous, healthy and attractive place to live in, work and visit.”
To request a printed copy of the Public Art Strategy, email: email@example.com.