ELLIOTT KEENE

Boscombe Art Trail: Photo Story

Posted on: November 17, 2010

Boscombe is still often thought to be the poor relative of the perhaps more desirable location of seaside resort Bournemouth. The neighbouring suburb has been affected by high levels of crime and run-down buildings, yet the recent re-developments – such as as becoming home to Europe’s first artificial surf reef – has attracted much needed attention to the once derelict town. A new public art trail is part of the Boscombe Sea Change Project, a £455,000 scheme funded by CABE, to regenerate the area.

A series of seven innovative sculptures by local artist Andy Kirkby, that were chosen by a panel of professionals and local people, have been carefully placed around Boscombe to create a trail linking the Sea front to the commercial heart of the town. The public artworks are visually linked through colour and materials including bronze, copper and cast iron and have been installed along Sea Road – with Boscombe pier and the Royal Arcade as the ‘bookends’ for the trail – at the hope of encouraging beach visitors to make the 0.7km journey uphill into the town centre.

A marine theme is evident in many of the sculptures with objects and marine life such as a diving helmet, a boat and a sunfish. It is hoped that these exciting innovations to the town will give residents a sense of pride as the first of several dramatic improvements of part of the big budget scheme and also as the first piece of public art in an area of little opportunities for creative display.

I decided to explore what Boscombe had to offer on a windy November day, and took photos of the recently installed pieces on the trail, which can be viewed as part of a photo-story on my Flikr page (also shown in the slide-show above). Although it doesn’t seem at first that there would be all that much to do in the town without hot weather to lay on the beach, that didn’t seem to bother the ever eager surfers who braved the icy shores equipt with their boards.

If you’re not one for the waves then don’t miss the Boscombe Market on Thursdays and Saturdays in the retail precinct, where you can catch a bargain if you dodge the standard marketplace clobber and the distinct smell of fish butchers. The Boscombe Gardens also offer a great place for a winters walk, with views looking down onto the seafront and leafy pathways weaved between the tall oak trees, for a peaceful break from the bustle of the town and the bellowing of the market-sellers.

All this is in close proximity to the award-winning boutique style Urban Beach Hotel, and the unique Urban Reef restraunt located along the promenade. It seems that this small town does have certainly something to offer and shouldn’t be overshadowed by the tourist trap that is Bournemouth, especially with the promising Sea Change project and recent addition of the innovative public art pieces – Boscombe’s future is looking brighter than ever.

To find out more about the Boscombe Sea Change project visit the CABE website.

Alternatively, follow the frequent updates on the Boscombe Regeneration Facebook page.

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