This Sunday a new sculpture will be unveiled on the Hove seafront on King’s Esplanade. Hove Civic Society is behind the crowdfunded project and have enlisted acclaimed artist Jonathon Wright to design the inaugural ‘Constellation’ sculpture. The aim for the project is to bring a “brilliant modern-day sculpture [to] inspire, delight and surprise all those who visit Brighton & Hove’s incredible seafront”. There will be a vast array of sculptors and pieces shown on the new ‘Hove Plinth’. The project raised a little over £40,000 with 79 supporters in 49 days with a bridge amount of £16,000 received from Arts Council England to achieve the fundraising target. The project is a great example of how Brighton & Hove’s residents encourage the ever-changing cultural landscape of the city. When the project was seeking funding Dick Knight, beloved Lifetime President of Brighton & Hove Albion said “everyone who loves our seafront should help Hove Plinth become a reality. It will be the platform for some stunning creativity in the years to come and always brilliant remind people – visitor and resident – that our city has unique and lasting style”. The sculpture by Jonathon Wright will feature hove’s most iconic and loved landscapes/imagery as “an imaginative celebration of our community which puts Hove in it’s own solar system”. The sculpture will slightly move, illuminating the different icons at different times in the day and will cast beautiful shadows across the promenade. Technology is increasingly placed within artworks as the digital age progresses and this sculpture has internet access and mobile technology which will enable it to be an interactive and fun experience for anyone visiting the piece. Wright said of the artwork “the notion of a constellation, a model of the planetary system, an oversized ‘Orrery’ is a perfect fit for the location. We are encouraged to look upward, consider star gazing, a sense of the universe and the place we hold in the world.”
The project was inspired by the Victorian monuments that run all the way along Hove’s seafront. Hove Civic Society realised that very few modern pieces had been added in the last 100 years. Before crowdfunding existed in the Victorian era there was public subscription, the public would donate their money towards cultural projects. “Hove Civic Society wanted to revive this tradition by encouraging local residents, visitor and businesses to actively support public display of modern day sculpture, creating not only a sense of ownership and pride in the public realm, but also enhancing Hove as a place people want to live, work, play and visit”. This project hopes to inject lasting infrastructure for the arts in the city with the aim of the sculptures remaining in Brighton & Hove, they have been actively exploring solutions with Brighton & Hove City Council to find permanent locations under the proposal ‘sculptures in the city’, “the aim is to create a lasting legacy of public art, improving the public realm and adding to the city’s attractions with all its cultural and economic benefits”.
Hovic Civic Society are a charity based in Hove with “the object of stimulating community interest in the beauty, history and character of Hove and its surroundings”. The group directly behind the ‘Hove Plinth’ are the Public Sculpture Project Team who have given up their time for free to advise on sculpting practice, curation, fundraising, communication and business management. It’s groups like these that are needed in Brighton to continue the tradition of arts and culture in the city. Wright additionally said of the sculpture “the work extends beyond its physical presence and becomes a point of reference that means many things to many people. The objects become magical, infused with meaning; a local constellation”. You can see the unveiling of the sculpture with a full swing band Swing Ninjas and aribbon cutting by the Mayor on Saturday on the King’s Esplanade. Head down in the sunshine to see the newest piece of art in Brighton!