Brightening up Brighton!

Brighton & Hove City Council and Brilliant Brighton – a not-for-profit organisation, formed of 517 retail, leisure and hospitality businesses within the city centre – have teamed up to make use of vacant premises within Brighton city centre for a pilot project.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 7:05 am
Nikki Shaill - Sarah London Photography

One of the ways they hope to brighten up empty premises is with a small selection of commissioned art installations by local artists.

The first window installation, on Market Street within Hanningtons Estate, is by Nikki Shaill (also known as Originary Arts) and features bold, Brighton-inspired illustrations, such as West Pier, the Pavilion and Hove beach huts.

Nikki describes her design as: “a celebration of the iconic shapes, colours and symbols of this unique city.

“I've used geometric designs, the signature primary colour palette of Bauhaus and Originary Arts, plus playful paper forms to create a layered installation that I hope evokes curiosity and joy.

“The design is inspired by sights and landmarks of Brighton that I love, plus ideas that the local community have contributed to the project and I have interpreted into the artwork.”

“I'm really proud and excited to take over this fantastic location in The Lanes. I work part time (as an arts learning manager) just around the corner and I love the area that it is in, where there is such a vibrant atmosphere.

“It's exciting to think that lots of different people will be able to walk past and I hope that people will stop them to look, even if just for a moment as they pass by.

“I hope all ages will enjoy it and I've designed it with children in mind to enjoy it too. I hope that my design brings even more colour, joy and playfulness to this already creative area of the city centre.”

More than 80 local artists submitted proposals to the Brightening Up Brighton brief. Five artists have been commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council – subject to property availability, to add interest to empty properties.

Donna Chisholm, Brighton & Hove City Council's assistant director for culture, tourism and sport, said: “It’s wonderful to see empty shops being given a new burst of life and there is so much creative talent in our city to make this happen.

“This is a great example of what is possible when businesses, artists and the Brilliant Brighton BID come together to support the recovery of retail and culture, drawing people into the city centre and showcasing the quality of the work by artists here in Brighton & Hove.”

Shelley Welti, media officer for Brilliant Brighton, added: “It’s been fantastic to see such enthusiasm for the window dressing opportunities, and we’re so excited to unveil Nikki’s bold, eye-catching and vibrant installation. We hope that local residents and visitors alike will enjoy the display in a recently vacated store. We’d love to hear from other landlords and managing agents in the city, who would be interested in brightening up their vacant properties with artists installations!”