27 June 2019

There are exciting times ahead for Southend on Sea!

 In July 2020, Southend will host the most spectacular arts event that the town has ever seen! 30 super-sized Hare sculptures will be hopping their way into the town in what promises to be an incredibly impressive, huge art installation in partnership with Wild in Art.  It will bring together businesses, schools, community groups, creative artists and the media, providing a thrilling opportunity for adventurers young and old – everyone will be encouraged to be involved!

Each 1.6 metre Hare sculpture will be decorated with its own unique design, created by regional professional, emerging and amateur artists. They will make an unforgettably stunning spectacle when the trail goes live, helping to raise awareness of, and funds for, local charity Havens Hospices.

All local artists are encouraged to be involved! They will have the opportunity to transform a three-dimensional blank canvas – the Hare sculpture – with their own artwork. Their work will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people. Designs are welcomed in any medium; from traditional to new media, fine art to illustrations, graffiti and mosaic. Whatever the art form, we’re keen to add drama, fun and a creative flourish to ‘Hares About Town’!

Expect an amazing array of designs showcasing a range of styles, techniques and themes, and some drawing the wealth of history, culture and creativity boasted by our region.

The finished Hares will form a free, fun, family-friendly trail of discovery for local people to explore and enjoy next summer! The Hares will be popping up in many of the popular locations around The Seafront and the High Street as well as enticing people into Southend’s more hidden gems of local history and culture.

Acclaimed local artist Paul Karslake has decorated the first of these incredible sculptures. Working by hand, Paul decided the Hare should have a traditional face and then the body would depict a stunning image of the fishing boats at Leigh on Sea. He said ‘I wanted something realistic but at the same time with a surreal morphing from a traditional face to a sea scape. The local area is something I am very passionate about, having lived here for much of my life; working and raising a family in this fantastically creative corner of the world.’ He went on to say ‘Town centres can sometimes be a bit sanitised and so it is vitally important we put on ambitious projects like this to embrace creativity and draw inspiration from the wealth of history and culture in the area. It’s a pretty surreal concept – but it really works!’

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art added: ‘As a 3D blank canvas, our Hare Sculptures lend themselves to so many different styles of artwork. We’re delighted to be working with Havens Hospices to bring them to Southend for artists, communities and young people to decorate with many unique designs.’

‘Our events are designed to bring the enjoyment of public art to everyone while offering new ways for people to explore their local area. There are many sponsorship packages available and businesses in Southend who recognise the cultural benefits of supporting Hares About Town as well as the positives for their own community should ‘hop to it’ – you don’t want to miss out on the benefits of being a sponsor!’

  Meanwhile, an inclusive learning programme, imaginatively linked to the curriculum, will give children and young people the chance to explore Southend through creative eyes. Local community groups will also be invited to make their own special contribution to the trail - working with artists to develop and realise their own artistic ideas. There will be the opportunity to adopt and design a smaller Hare sculpture – a Leveret – whilst taking part in our county-wide Learning Programme for children and young people. The mini sculptures give an exceptional, creative opportunity to engage pupils in important topics – from environmental issues and the natural world, to citizenship, and health and wellbeing, to name a few!

The possibilities of getting involved are endless whether it be sponsoring, creating, exploring or engaging in any number of exciting ways!

After enthralling, entertaining and bringing people together, the legacy of Hares About Town continues as many of the sculptures will be auctioned to raise vital funds for a much-loved local charity Havens Hospices.

Local charity Havens Hospices are embarking on a new era with the introduction of the new Fair Havens Hospice, allowing them to care for twice as many patients. It will incorporate increased Day Hospice Services, In-Patient bedrooms and additional family support in beautifully landscaped gardens and grounds which means a more flexible approach to the care given. Positioned opposite Priory Park, it’ll be a bright, modern hospice caring for adults at every stage of their illness. The care will continue to be free for patients and families but this can only help with the continued support of the community and funds raised from events such as Hares About Town.

Havens Hospices are delighted to be working with Wild in Art to deliver this extraordinary, free public art trail and cultural event; a fun and inclusive project but also with so many benefits for the charity and the town itself!

Louise Gloyne, Head of Major Revenue and Capital Appeal Project Director for Havens Hospices said, “We are delighted to be collaborating with Wild in Art for their ‘Hares About Town’ event and are all looking forward to following the trail to see what our local artists have created. It is going to be a great way to celebrate the charity and the town taking ‘the next step’ in local hospice care.  The build, which started in October 2018 is going well and we anticipate that the doors to the new Fair Havens will be open and caring for patients and families from across Southend, Rochford and Castle Point in Spring 2020.

“As a charity we rely on the kindness and generosity of the local community to be there for patients and families when they need us most; so, to be the beneficiaries of this wonderful initiative that will bring joy to many people in the town and also visitors is fantastic. Every penny that is raised through the Hares will help us provide free specialist care for as long as it is needed.”

Dawn Jeakings, Shopping Centre Manager at The Royals Shopping Centre in Southend thinks it is a fantastic idea and believes it will generate "much needed awareness" for the great work that Havens Hospices does every day. She goes on to say “We’re really excited at the thought of these beautifully decorated Hares popping up all over Southend’s iconic landmarks! Hares About Town will be an amazing adventure for local residents and is hugely important to Havens Hospices. It will it inspire civic pride and conversation and give people an opportunity to get active on a free and fun day out.’

What will Hares About Town achieve in Southend?

Up and down the country, cities and towns have been magically transformed by the installation of Wild in Art’s spectacular mass-participation public art trails. They have a proven track record in:

Up and down the country, cities and towns have been magically transformed by the installation of Wild in Art’s spectacular mass-participation public art trails. They have a proven track record in:
  • Boosting economic growth
  • Re-invigorating local tourist attractions
  • Instilling civic pride in local residents
  • Attracting new visitors to regenerated areas
  • Increasing the health and wellbeing of the local population through increased activity
  • Encouraging families to spend more time together
  • Raising vital funds to help Havens Hospices take ‘the next step’

Why a Hare?

These mysterious creatures have been fascinating people for centuries. March Hares herald the arrival of Spring on 21st March, marking the rebirth of the natural world after its long Winter sleep. They are a poignant symbol of the continuation of life, positivity and regeneration; it feels apt as a symbol both for Havens Hospices and for the town itself as we enter a new era of growth and regeneration; a burgeoning of new life and optimism!

Once thriving in the rural flatlands these beautiful creatures are now under threat, joining the ranks of some of our most endangered species.

The trail is only made possible with the support of philanthropic local businesses who admire and support the many positive aspects of our town as well as a desire to raise awareness of the plight of our wildlife and to generate vital funding for Havens Hospices.

Hop On Board! 
Be part of this unique event that will raise money for a much-loved local charity and deliver significant economic, social and cultural benefits to the town.

Business sponsorship offers unprecedented business development as well as an employee and community engagement opportunity. Access a range of marketing, PR, and CSR benefits, reach new audiences and put your organisation on the map.

  • Present your business or organisation in a positive way to current and new customers, as well as potential new employees in a competitive market.
  • Great PR for your business, with lots of opportunities for your brand to be seen via our official media partners and social media.
  • Drive footfall and sales to your business through The Hares About Town app and other promotional options.
  • Be a key part of a long-lasting event that raises civic pride, delights the whole town and drives a ‘feel good’ factor in Southend

Get involved and make this an unmissable celebration of Southend on Sea!