SEAS (Socially Engaged Art Salon) is a space for exhibitions, events and workshops, and an artist’s residency that concentrates on socially and politically engaged practices and themes, especially in relation to issues of social justice, migration, race & ethnicity, disability and LGBTQ+ communities. Founded in 2016, SEAS has became a beacon for socially and politically engaged art in Brighton and the south-east England. It is part of the Social Art Network and has links to local and national art organisations.
SEAS was founded in a small house the heart of Brighton – an 18th century building intended for servants of the Royal Pavilion. SEAS’ unique model of home-gallery fulfilled a need for a dedicated space for socially engaged art, and provided a homely and less regimented setting, that was welcoming for both artists and visitors.
A successful programme of exhibitions and events drew in hundreds of visitors and participants, a new programme of community art workshops, and links to other community and arts organisations. This success led SEAS to the move to a much bigger space at the BMECP – (Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership) Centre, near Brighton train station and to a partnership with the Euro Mediterranean Resources Network.
SEAS operates about five exhibitions per year, usually during other festivals in Brighton such as Artists’ Open House / Brighton Festival, Brighton Photography Biennale & Photo Fringe, Black History Month, LGBTQ History month and Refugee Week. Some of the exhibitions are commissioned by charities (such as Brighton Pride, Platforma, Sanctuary on Sea), others are self initiated. SEAS is also exhibits the works of SEAS’s artists’ residency and is open to proposals from curators, artists and artists’ collectives.
Engagement with diverse audiences is the core of SEAS work, and exhibitions include artists’ talks, discussions and workshops open to the public and community groups.