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Town Hall artwork showcasing children’s creativity revealed

PUBLISHED: 09:12 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:24 29 June 2018

Lowestoft town hall, Watertight Words project first installation. Pictures; Mick Howes

Lowestoft town hall, Watertight Words project first installation. Pictures; Mick Howes

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The first in a series of artworks to be installed across Lowestoft has been unveiled on the historic town hall.

The completed installation of artworks on 50 panels at Lowestoft town hall. Picture: Mick HowesThe completed installation of artworks on 50 panels at Lowestoft town hall. Picture: Mick Howes

The inaugural art installation is being temporarily showcased on town hall as part of a cultural project, which is linked to the creation of the town’s permanent flood defences.

More than 1,000 children and various community groups have been engaged as part of the Watertight Words project – a new heritage and literacy initiative that is providing a lasting legacy for Lowestoft.

Marking the 65th anniversary of the 1953 floods, arts charity FlipSide has worked with the team behind Lowestoft’s £32m Flood Risk Management Project to deliver Watertight Words, which is part of Great Places – Making Waves Together.

Funded by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery, and supported by Historic England, the first installation was officially opened last night.

Lowestoft town hall, Watertight Words project first installation. Pictures; Mick HowesLowestoft town hall, Watertight Words project first installation. Pictures; Mick Howes

Numerous Watertight Words workshops were held earlier this year involving the school children and the community to explore responses to the sea, the history of flooding in the town and what the new flood defences will mean for Lowestoft. Words and phrases developed during these workshops have been used to create a series of typographical installations which will be displayed around the town as the flood defences are being constructed.

The first installation, by award-winning lettering artist Gary Breeze, is now on display across 50 panels on the exterior of the town hall – with the support of Lowestoft Town Council – with the words and phrases used developed through the workshops with poet Dean Parkin.

Participating schools visited the town hall last night. Genevieve Christie, FlipSide director, said: “It is lovely to see the tangible outcome of all the workshops. With this temporary installation on the town hall it will draw attention to the High Street and links to a future installation in London Road North and the sea defence wall.

“The two word phrases focus on a coastal community, with the panels running along the bottom using the beach with the top section like a horizon.”

Lowestoft town hall, Watertight Words project first installation. Pictures; Mick HowesLowestoft town hall, Watertight Words project first installation. Pictures; Mick Howes

A Lowestoft Town Council spokesman said: “This project showcases Lowestoft schoolchildren’s creative spark in a way that is uplifting and inspirational.”

Project background

In addition to the temporary installations, Gary Breeze and Dean Parkin will create a piece of large-scale public art on the glass section of the brand new sea wall, which will be located on the South Pier.

The permanent flood scheme, known as the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project, aims to reduce the risk of flooding from the sea, rivers and from extreme rainfall. When completed, the £32m scheme will make sure that more than 400 homes and businesses are better protected, as well as supporting the economic growth and regeneration of Lowestoft for many years to come.

The main focus of the project – a multi-agency scheme between Waveney District Council, Suffolk County Council, the Environment Agency, Anglian Water and other organisations – is the creation of a permanent tidal wall which will be built around the harbour to protect against future tidal surges, with a tidal gate located near to the Bascule Bridge to prevent surge water entering Lake Lothing.

Reaction

Frank Mortimer, chairman of Waveney District Council, said: “Parts of Lowestoft are vulnerable to both tidal and surface water flooding and we have seen in the past how devastating this can be for communities and businesses alike.

“The permanent defences will reduce the risks from all types of flooding in the town and provide permanent and effective flood protection for future generations. Watertight Words has given our young people, and the wider community, a wonderful opportunity to reflect how they feel about the sea and flooding.”

A Lowestoft Town Council spokesman added: “From a Lowestoft Town Council point of view, we are very happy to encourage any scheme that brings in national funds to benefit the High Street and our children and doesn’t cost local parish ratepayers a penny.

“While the art installation is temporary and will only be on the town hall for six months, the memories and pride it will bring to the children who see their words in such a prominent location will last forever.”


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