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Works by Jo Redpath (photo:

Hastings Old Town – centre of creativity

When we told friends in France that we were moving to Hastings, there were mixed reactions.  The usual one was “Why Hastings?” asked with an air of perplexity.  That was easily dealt with – it had happened entirely by chance.  But one friend followed it up with – “but there won’t be any cultural life there”.  I know what she meant: there’s no theatre to speak of and precious little in the way of classical music, writes Antony Mair.

But I am constantly struck by the way in which we are surrounded by creative people of one sort or another.  This impression was reinforced by a visit to the studio of Jo Redpath, who recently moved to our street from Santiago de Compostela.  She acquired a house sandwiched between a converted hall belonging to Roland Jarvis, a rather distinguished artist who is also a master horologist, and a house belonging to a couple known to me only as Bob and Clare, whose artistic efforts are most in evidence in the costumes they put together for the annual festival Jack-in-the-Green, celebrated in Hastings at the beginning of May.

This little clutch of artists is at the other end of our street.  But from my study windows I look onto the back of a house belonging to Ken Edwards, poet, publisher and bass guitarist with local group The Moors.  And just round the corner is the home of PoloPiatti, composer and founder of the International Composers’ Festival. Across the valley, against West Hill, we look out on the home of artist Gus Cummins RA.  At the Peasmarsh Festival recently we met another eminent artist, Laetitia Yhap,

The town is awash with media folk, whether photographers such as Grace Lau or stylists such as Alastair Hendy.  In short, creative energy abounds.  These are all people I’ve become aware of over the past twelve months.  I have little doubt that there are many more we still have to come across.  Nice though it would be to have theatre and classical music on our doorstep, there’s something very satisfying about being in close proximity to creators in the arts, not just performers and consumers.

Republished with kind permission from Antony Mair’s blog.

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Posted 23:34 Monday, Aug 5, 2013 In: Arts News


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  1. Erica

    Sometimes I think I’d have a quieter cultural life if I moved to London…

    Comment by Erica — Friday, Aug 9, 2013 @ 09:26

  2. Cathy Simpson

    No cultural life in Hastings! Good grief…

    Comment by Cathy Simpson — Friday, Aug 9, 2013 @ 00:07

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