Art on the Line is part of Southern Rail’s plan to introduce contemporary art to its stations to promote local emerging artists and enhance the commuter experience.
The project has already begun with the transformation of four recently refurbished waiting rooms into mini art galleries at Lewes station, a busy commuter station between Brighton and London with a footfall of 10,000 commuters a day.
The mini galleries have come to life thanks to carefully selected work by Sussex Downs College students who are planning careers in the creative industries – currently one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK.
The 25 individual pieces span genres including painting, illustration, photography and English language, with some of it already having achieved recognition through prestigious awards. The pieces represent the progression of Sussex Downs College students, who hail from more than 15 different schools across East and West Sussex.
James Horton, President of the Royal Society of British Artists, will officially launch Art on the Line at Lewes station on Tuesday 21 January.
Running from 10:00 – 11:00am, the event will also be attended by local dignitaries including The Mayor of Lewes Cllr Ruth O’ Keeffe, Head of Sussex Downs Lewes College Sherry Russell, and Lewes resident and renowned performance poet John Agard, who recently received the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry.
Sussex Downs College students from the East Sussex Academy of Music will perform at the launch, including John Sturt, who performed for the Queen during her recent visit to Lewes. John is one of eight students this year from Sussex Downs College who have been successful in securing places at some of the top music conservatoires in the UK.
Katie Richards, Lewes Station Manager, said: “This is a very exciting project that demonstrates Southern Rail’s commitment to the local community as well as to making the commuter experience a much more enjoyable one for all its customers. It’s only been a few weeks into the installation of the artwork and we have had already had lots of very positive feedback and favourable comments from customers who think it’s a great idea.”
Sherry Russell, Head of Sussex Downs Lewes College, said: “We are grateful to Southern for having the vision that has enabled us to make this concept a reality. But most of all we are glad to have the opportunity to demonstrate the wealth of talent that we have in our community and that we are able to nurture at Sussex Downs Lewes College. It’s such a pleasure to see the quality of work produced by students that have joined us from a wide range of schools across Sussex.”
Chris Burchell, Managing Director of Southern Rail, said: “Art on the Line is an exciting new initiative that will enhance our waiting rooms with original and creative art for our passengers to enjoy. We are proud of our strong track record for community support so we are delighted to be able to provide another platform to showcase emerging talent on the Southern network.”