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'S for Southend 2024' launches Saturday 20th January at Focal Point Gallery

Focal Point Gallery's community exhibition ‘S for Southend’ is back, showcasing artworks made by local residents and artists of all ages during 2023. Join us on Saturday 20th January 2024 from 11am to 5pm for our opening day - open to all. We are delighted to share works made by participants across our learning programme and in collaboration with local organisations and charities to champion the abundant creativity in Southend. Works includes those created in Children’s Art Club, Contemporary Elders, Digifest and our local Schools programmes with Cedar Hall, St Nicholas, Estuary, Briscoe, Darlinghurst, Janet Duke, Chase and West Leigh  As well as work from Southend Youth Council and One Love.

S for Southend will see the debut of an ambitious new project that sees students in Southend schools and students in Newlyn schools working to a brief inspired by ‘Storm Warning’ exhibitions that took place in both localities in response to the question: what does climate change mean for coastal communities? Their responses to the brief are being shown in both Focal Point Gallery and The Exchange, in Penzance.

‘Messages in the Sand’ is an intergenerational project involving a group of FPG’s Contemporary Elders and families living in Southend, led by Lora and Marley (Wyrd Flora), who together explored what Southend and the sea means to them, now and in the future. During the run of the group exhibition, ‘Storm Warning: what does climate change mean for coastal communities?’ participants took part in a series of collaborative creative workshops, co-creating an ambitious artwork that highlights and explores what actions can be taken to protect our natural environment. Also included are some of the Contemporary Elders’ research into the Canvey Island Floods of 1953. This project set out to give the tools to empower the oldest and youngest members of our community in skill-sharing and conversations that spark creativity, positivity, and a connection to the land we call home. Made possible with support from Art Fund through Reimagine grants.

To coincide with ‘S for Southend’, Focal Point Gallery is pleased to announce Richard Baxter, Sonny Green, and Danielle Kassaraté as the three Southend-based creatives to take part in Round 1 of the 2024 edition of Relay, an initiative that first started 2021. Each artist was invited to share artwork, research, or work in progress in the form of a one-minute video which will be screened on Big Screen Southend for three and half weeks, as well as on our website and Instagram feed. Each creative has been asked to nominate another Southend-based practitioner to feature in the programme, concluding after three rounds.

Saturday 24th February is our next Creative Open Day at Focal Point Gallery! It’s free and is for all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Running from 11 am to 3 pm – be sure to come along and spark your creativity in a new and exciting way.

About our Partners

The One Love Project started as a night-time soup kitchen in a Southend car park for the homeless but expanded due to increased demand. A construction company generously offered their Hollybrook site for free as a permanent HQ. Their mission focuses on improving lives by providing food, clothing, and holistic support to combat addiction, poverty, and educational challenges. Since relocating in 2017, they've expanded their services, officially becoming a registered charity in 2020 to provide more extensive support to a wider group of people in need.

The Southend Youth Council welcomes young individuals aged 11-18 residing or attending school in the Southend borough. Primarily, it offers a platform for youth participation in local governance, discussing and debating pertinent issues through structured meetings. These gatherings feature a formal agenda, covering topics like current affairs debates and updates on ongoing campaigns led by the council.


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