Ten new community art interventions are being proposed for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s (BCP’s) coastline.

Financed through the UK Government’s Levelling-Up Fund (LUF), BCP Council hopes the installations will help boost civic pride and attract residents and visitors to overlooked areas of the seafront.

The Council will also look to engage diverse and underserved communities in arts and culture through theming each piece of art on ‘identity’; showcasing the rich local heritage and community of each site.

Proposed projects include a suite of artistic benches in Hamworthy Park, Poole; a maritime-themed wall of mosaic art in Mudeford, Christchurch; and a series of inspiring quotes waiting to be discovered in Boscombe, Bournemouth, written by the talented members of BEAF’s The Outsiders Project.

A sculpture themed around Jekyll and Hyde will be located in Westbourne, where famed author Robert Louis Stevenson lived and wrote the notorious horror story in 1886.

Other areas to benefit from the project include Poole Town, West Cliff, East Cliff and Springbourne, and Burton and Grange.

Councillor Andy Martin, Portfolio Holder for Customer, Communications and Culture at BCP Council, said:

“We are fortunate to live in a culturally rich area of great historical significance.

“Each of these art interventions aim to help boost the prosperity and profile of each individual location, strengthening identity and placemaking through providing visitors and communities with a gateway to the past.

“Central to this project will be the visions of our local people and communities, who will play an important role in transforming these art pieces from concept to reality.”

Friends of Hamworthy Park community group, added:

“Hamworthy has a rich history and a tight-knit community. It’s so exciting that our children will be turning our shared heritage into bench art, and this project will make these benches more than just places to sit; they’ll narrate our collective story, making history touchable and fascinating.”

The project will use a range of national and local artists, who will work alongside members of local communities across the conurbation to help shape, create and implement each art piece.

Poole Printmakers, a co-operative of local artists who will be contributing to the art installations, said:

“We are delighted to be asked to contribute to this public arts project, which will embrace culture, community and identity, and be delivered by community representatives together with our printmaking group.

“As an open-access arts studio within Poole ‘old town’, with a presence of more than 30 years and values built around access to art and teaching in the local community, we are passionate about face-to-face interaction with the very communities we are supporting.”

This project has been fully financed by the Government’s LUF initiative and is one of 11 infrastructure projects which the Council received £19.9 million in January 2023 to deliver across its seafront.

These projects will run up until 2025 and are not dependent on Council budget. LUF investment must only be spent on the 11 projects it was granted for.

The art installation scheme launches in February, with community engagements and artist commissions taking place over the Spring and Summer seasons.

The installation of these creative additions to the region’s coastline, as well as some new cultural trails to help you discover Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s rich heritage, are expected to be delivered in full come the end of 2025.

Residents can stay informed via regular project updates, which will be shared across BCP Council’s social media channels.

More information:

A 2019 research study carried out in London found that 84% of people believe that regularly participating in public art projects benefited their wellbeing.

Read more about the Outsiders Project by visiting BEAF Arts Co’s website: Outsiders Project – BEAF Arts Co (gotbeaf.co.uk)

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