Holidaymakers flock to Eastbourne in England to make their way along its pebble beach, nibble candy floss on the charming Victorian pier and soak up the rays on what is known as The Sunshine Coast for a reason. But look a little closer and you’ll also find a wealth of creative talent just waiting to be discovered. Here’s our guide to the varied and colourful art spaces in Eastbourne.
Henry Paddon Contemporary Art
Working with creatives from around the country since 1992 and showcasing the best of British art and craft including ceramics, stained glass, driftwood and metalwork, Henry Paddon Contemporary Art holds mixed exhibitions in October and March. Located in Eastbourne’s trendy cultural quarter, the art space, which also showcases jewellery and textiles, is a glorious celebration of the varied media used by local and national artists.
The Nigel Greaves Gallery
This two-floor gallery opened in 2008 just behind Eastbourne’s fabulous hotel The Grand – which, by the way, makes an ideal spot for a well-earned afternoon tea after your visit. Feast your eyes on classic landscapes and seascapes, as well as wildly colourful abstracts, some of which are propped up on the floor – meaning you’ll find art at eye-level and knee-level, giving the gallery a pleasant eccentricity.
The Towner Gallery
The stark white structure of the Towner Gallery is an eye-catching contrast to Eastbourne’s blue skies and Victorian architecture. Inside, discover a unique programme of exhibitions both historic and contemporary. Watercolours by Sussex’s own Eric Ravilious are a must-see; his colourful work timelessly captures the rolling downs and vibrant countryside. The gallery provides art materials and learning packs free of charge for families, allowing admirers to become artists. Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery hosts a number of fascinating talks and events across the year.
The Devonshire Collective
Made up of five venues at the Eastbourne seaside, the Devonshire Collective is a group of creative spaces all within minutes walking distance. The collective makes for a wonderful ‘art crawl’, all conveniently close to the jolly pier and beach. Aiming to support emerging and established artists in both the visual and performative fields, the collective includes Eastbourne’s Royal Hippodrome Theatre and a cafe and gallery on Seaside Road displaying contemporary photography including the work of Axel Hesslenberg and Mark Nelson.
J C J Pottery and showroom
Specialising in porcelain and lustreware, J C J pottery may afford you a glimpse of some work being thrown or hand-decorated if you pop by at the right time. With a showroom full of gleaming pots, you’ll have to exercise great willpower if you’re planning to leave without a souvenir.
The Emma Mason Gallery
Specialising in original prints and just a short stroll from Eastbourne seafront, the Emma Mason Gallery holds exhibitions all year round. The gallery was founded in 2004 by Emma Mason and her husband Richard, taking inspiration from a well-known local printmaker the late Robert Tavener. The light and airy gallery now represents more than 60 artists and exhibits work from printmakers from the 1950s up to the present day. Exhibitions as of this writing include ceramic work by Vicky Lindo and Bill Brookes alongside prints by London-based artist Alice Pattullo.
This community gallery in the heart of Hailsham, just outside Eastbourne, is a non-profit organisation exhibiting a charming collection of paintings, photography, illustration and sculpture among other media. Host to the Hailsham Arts Festival, which celebrates literature and the performing arts every Autumn, the gallery also offers classes in watercolours and oil painting.