Creativity needed to show some love for Exmouth as beach seat shelter gets facelift

Exmouth artists and imaginative people are needed to inject some love into a project to turn tired beach beach seats into a fresh space for creativity.

Community artist Anna Fitzgerald, from Exmouth, has teamed up with graphic artist Gary Cook and Honiton’s Thelma Hulbert Gallery for an East Devon District Council-backed idea to transform the love boats.

Some 50 people are needed to make their mark on the area in time for a bigger ‘creative hub’ community project being launched next year, involving schools, groups, young people and artists.

Anna, who is leading the project, said creative people from all walks of life can apply to join by filling in a survey.

She said: “This project will be introducing the idea of repurposing this brilliantly-located space to use as a place for art, performances, music and all forms of creativity, and needs all kinds of creatives to get involved.

“The team is looking for singers, writers, dancers, musicians, makers, sculptors, poets, photographers, performance artists, film producers, crafters, stand-up artists, actors, designers and everyone in between to add their name to an Exmouth square – a bit like having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“So, if you would like to see this underused and often misused resource given a new positive purpose, please apply.”

Exmouth

The love boats – or abode of love – having a facelift, with Anna Fitzgerald, left and Gary Cook, right.

Exmouth

Gary Cook will be on the panel, helping to pick 50 creative people keen to join the project.

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The 50 names will each be allocated a square to sign ready for a bigger project in 2021.

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Once the squares are signed it will look like Exmouth’s own Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Successful applicants will be chosen by a panel made up of Anna, Gary, Councillor Joe Whibley, local businesses and representatives from Thelma Hulbert.

The love boat – or abode of love – is a 342-foot flood defence, made up of nine individual sea-facing shelters that open out onto the beach.

In 2019 EDDC teamed up with Thelma Hulbert Gallery to commission an idea to breathe new life into the area for 2020, in a bid to compliment the new Exmouth seafront developments.

The project was scrapped because of the coronavirus and a fresh idea formed to transform the walls of the shelters, using the talents of local creatives, artists and designers.

The commission is a prequel to public art project planned for 2021, where town and district leaders will join up with Exmouth artists, young people, schools and community groups.

Councillor Joe Whibley, EDDC lead member for culture and a ward member for Exmouth Town, said: “After a difficult few months it’s great to see this project happening now.

“Cultural regeneration can play an important part in Exmouth’s recovery.

A Thelma Hulbert Gallery spokeswoman said: “We want to celebrate the incredible creativity in Exmouth by reaching out to and engaging with local residents for this project.”

To apply to join the project, email info@thelmahulbert.com for a survey, to be completed by Sunday, July 26. Successful applicants will be notified by August 3.

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