Public art is a prominent feature of Hastings’ city centre and public art walking tours are the perfect way to find out more about the installations and murals that add life and interest to the inner city.

Run by Hastings City Art Gallery, the walks are usually held once every three months, but this summer this will increase to weekly to give people more opportunities to find out more about the history and background of the works.

Making the tours weekly has been possible thanks to funding allocated from the Arts, Culture and Events Recovery Plan that Hastings District Council created to support the arts in the wake of the impact of COVID-19.

Arts, Culture and Events recovery plan lead Megan Peacock-Coyle said the goal of the plan was to promote community wellbeing through the arts.

“This is being achieved through supporting and/or facilitating events, as well as cultural artistic activity and practises, such as these art tours.”

Tour guide John Eaden said it usually takes between one and one and a half hours to complete the tour, showcasing the creativity of artists both local and national.

“We are well served in Hastings there’s a terrific amount of art considering the population base and it’s very diverse,” says Mr Eaden.

From the 18 Pou in Civic Square produced by carvers from various local marae to former Hastings Boys High School student Neil Dawson’s Sun Trap that hangs above the fountain in the city centre mall, each piece tells a story about this place and its people.

“Public art is important – it engages, reflects and interprets the local community and commemorates significant local events,” Mr Eaden said.

“When people come on the tours they enjoy finding out more about the pieces, which makes them more relatable, and often have information of their own they can share, which adds even more interest.”

Taking in close to 20 artworks, the free tours are held every Saturday (except public holidays), with attendees meeting at the gallery entrance in Civic Square at 11am, and will be held weekly until the end of February.

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