There are exciting times ahead for Southend on Sea!

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In July 2020, Southend will host the most spectacular arts event that the town has ever seen! 30 super-sized Hare sculptures will be hopping their way into the town in what promises to be an incredibly impressive, huge art installation in partnership with Wild in Art. It will bring together businesses, schools, community groups, creative artists and the media, providing a thrilling opportunity for adventurers young and old – everyone will be encouraged to be involved!

Each 1.6 metre Hare sculpture will be decorated with its own unique design, created by regional professional, emerging and amateur artists. They will make an unforgettably stunning spectacle when the trail goes live, helping to raise awareness of, and funds for, local charity Havens Hospices.

All local artists are encouraged to be involved! They will have the opportunity to transform a three-dimensional blank canvas – the Hare sculpture – with their own artwork. Their work will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people. Designs are welcomed in any medium; from traditional to new media, fine art to illustrations, graffiti and mosaic. Whatever the art form, we’re keen to add drama, fun and a creative flourish to ‘Hares About Town’!

Expect an amazing array of designs showcasing a range of styles, techniques and themes, and some drawing the wealth of history, culture and creativity boasted by our region.

The finished Hares will form a free, fun, family-friendly trail of discovery for local people to explore and enjoy next summer! The Hares will be popping up in many of the popular locations around The Seafront and the High Street as well as enticing people into Southend’s more hidden gems of local history and culture.

Acclaimed local artist Paul Karslake has decorated the first of these incredible sculptures. Working by hand, Paul decided the Hare should have a traditional face and then the body would depict a stunning image of the fishing boats at Leigh on Sea. He said ‘I wanted something realistic but at the same time with a surreal morphing from a traditional face to a sea scape. The local area is something I am very passionate about, having lived here for much of my life; working and raising a family in this fantastically creative corner of the world.’ He went on to say ‘Town centres can sometimes be a bit sanitised and so it is vitally important we put on ambitious projects like this to embrace creativity and draw inspiration from the wealth of history and culture in the area. It’s a pretty surreal concept – but it really works!’

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art added: ‘As a 3D blank canvas, our Hare Sculptures lend themselves to so many different styles of artwork. We’re delighted to be working with Havens Hospices to bring them to Southend for artists, communities and young people to decorate with many unique designs.’

‘Our events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to everyone while offering new ways for people to explore their local area. There are many sponsorship packages available and businesses in Southend who recognise the cultural benefits of supporting Hares About Town as well as the positives for their own community should ‘hop to it’ – you don’t want to miss out on the benefits of being a sponsor!’

Meanwhile, an inclusive learning programme, imaginatively linked to the curriculum, will give children and young people the chance to explore Southend through creative eyes. Local community groups will also be invited to make their own special contribution to the trail – working with artists to develop and realise their own artistic ideas. There will be the opportunity to adopt and design a smaller Hare sculpture – a Leveret – whilst taking part in our county-wide Learning Programme for children and young people.

The mini sculptures give an exceptional, creative opportunity to engage pupils in important topics – from environmental issues and the natural world, to citizenship, and health and wellbeing, to name a few!

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