Beside the Seaside

6 January 2013 – 4:33 pm

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The Guggenheim Bilbao, Baltic Gateshead and now the Jerwood Hastings. All art related and all re-development oriented.

The last few decades have seen a wave of socially deprived areas pollinated by arts projects. The premise being, an arts venue will drive tourism, local publicity and neighbourhood spend. The £4 million Jerwood Hastings opened in early 2012 to a mixed reception. The 8000 glazed tiles cover a sleek design which blends well with the dark wooden net storage huts surrounding the beachside zone. Colchester based designers HAT Projects, has done an excellent job of fitting the gallery aesthetically with the surrounding area, an iconic design without the pomp of similar high profile projects.

Online commentators are mixed, with a hard to understand anti-campaign gaining some airtime. Although still early days, it would be pertinent to say the manageable scale of this new venture and modest ambitions stand it in good stead for survival.

Clearly its longevity will see out of town visitor numbers increase and their money wash through the local economy.

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