OPEN, at 19 Grand Parade, launched on 13th June 2019 as a community-run creative café and exhibition space. Sadly, the decision has been taken to close OPEN in view of the Covid-19 lockdown and its aftermath. New premises will be sought when it becomes again possible to continue the activities developed over the time the venue was open. For more information, please see https://therefugeebuddyproject.org/open.
OPEN began with the exhibition ‘From Hastings, With Love’, for which Andrew Grainger took portraits of families who had arrived in the area as part of the Syrian Resettlement Project, alongside their Buddies – the local volunteers who, as part of the Refugee Buddy Project, had been welcoming them to their new homes over the past 18 months. Taken around the town in places chosen by the families and buddies themselves, Grainger’s photographs gave an emotional insight into the friendships which are being built by this local project.
Alongside many subsequent exhibitions, and the community café, OPEN also hosted a range of workshops, and was available for hire for events and pop-up activities. The aim was to feature artists who are not usually able to show their work.