Having recently moved into the area, in 2003 I started working freelance for Project Art Works on their accounts. Back then, they were a small organisation with a strong objective and big plans.
Most of the workshop delivery happened in special schools and the office/studio space was on the second floor above the sweet shop near Debenhams in Hastings Town centre. The space was airy in the best and worst sense: in the summer the front windows which were almost full length opened outwards, almost like a viewing platform without the platform! It almost gave me vertigo, there was a full view over the town and across to Hastings Castle. You could hear conversations taking place in the streets below, the laughter, the shouting, kids playing and crying, all life passing through. In winter it was freezing but also beautiful when a scattering of snow dusted the ground and hills.
There was a studio at the rear, which was home to the edit suite a large table and making area. This is where ideas evolved and where thrashed out by Project Art Works founders Kate Adams, Jon Cole and Caroline Le Breton. Just around the corner at 12 Claremont, owned by Jon and Caroline, Kate had a studio space and Project Art Works stored large materials and the very start of the Archive of work that has grown over the years into a unique body of work by people who are neurodiverse. In 2004 we moved to our current home in Braybrooke Terrace and the office over the sweetshop became a gallery.
At the corner of Robertson street, look up and you will see a full-scale mural painting by Jon Cole, Susan Elliott, Pete Thompsett and Benjamin Gough.
The America ground is full of joy, tears and stories from the earliest days of Project Art Works. The stories will continue to grow as the relationship continues with the gallery opening in the ground floor at 12 Claremont.