A locally inspired, illuminated trail in an illuminated town!

The flights of skateboarders, plastic vegetation in long gone nightclubs and the taste of whipped ice cream are just some of the experiences inspiring six illuminated artworks, titled Signs of the Times, to be seen in Scarborough from this week and forming part of the town’s new Scarborough Light, festival of illumination.

Scarborough Town Centre Team, wanting to celebrate Scarborough whilst showcasing local talent, commissioned the artworks – which take the form of lit-up signage.

Yorkshire Coast BID loved the idea and provided the funding. It was then down to local producing company, ARCADE to make it happen.

With his intense interest in both local signage and Scarborough’s unique sea front lettering, local artist and designer, Adrian Riley, was recruited as the perfect fit for the project. His obsession with the town’s various signage styles has been brought to bear and has led to a diverse selection visually striking styles in the different artworks, which visitors will be able to experience by touring the different host locations.

Inspiration came from the local community. A series of conversations and activities were organised for local crafters, a troop of Girl Guides, skateboarders, people who remember clubbing in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and many others – including stories recounted via Facebook and Instagram.

From these meetings and messages, Adrian picked a single phrase for each artwork – which summed up the sentiments of the participants. He then designed the perfect sign for each, and these designs were transformed into the finished LED-based, bright, radiant, letter-based signs by Don French Signs in Seamer.

The team at ARCADE were overwhelmed with offers from local traders offering to host an artwork and six properties were chosen.

In York Place, all five window ‘pods’ of The Brunswick have been dedicated to the first thoughts of those stepping from a bus at the seaside whereas, Mr E Escape Rooms on Vernon Road is hosting an artwork dedicated to the flight of the skateboarder.

In the somewhat secluded surrounds of 22 Bar Street, a stunning artwork celebrates the desire the take the weight off your feet and sit for a while, perhaps on one of the town’s benches.

Furnitureworks on St. Thomas Street celebrates the town’s rich history of theatres and, of course, its Opera House, with a phrase synonymous with all the great performing houses of the world, whilst Explore Indie on St. Nicholas Street remembers the ubiquitous Penthouse nightclub whose entrance was next door.

The final artwork reminisces about that first taste of a whipped ice cream and its sensation and texture in your mouth. It can be seen in the window of Mandy Apple at 44 Newborough.

Six very different artworks, inspired by six very different memories of living and, maybe, visiting the seaside at Scarborough. Each sign is accompanied by an information panel and a QR code. Scanning the QR code gives access to an accompanying audio track.

Richard Grunwell, chairman of Scarborough Town Centre Team commented, “The artworks delivered by Adrian and ARCADE have exceeded all our expectations and reminds us of the creative talent and untapped wonder of our town. We’re delighted to be contributing locally created elements to Scarborough Light and we hope that everyone gets a chance to see them all.”

Kerry Carruthers, CEO of Yorkshire Coast BID added, “Our eyes lit up when we reviewed the application, and we can’t wait to see the artworks in situ, which will bring the stories behind these pieces to life. Projects like these can have such positive impact for businesses during Autumn and Winter, providing new reasons to get out and explore, and it’s great to see it included within the new Scarborough Light festival.”

Julian Caddy, festival director for Scarborough Fair said, “I’m excited to see the artworks that Adrian and ARCADE have created and I’m looking forward to walking the trail now they’re installed. I’d like to thank Scarborough Town Centre Team and Yorkshire Coast BID for their commitment and contribution to Scarborough Light, Scarborough’s newest festival, and I look forward to working with them again in the future.”

Andrew Aldis, producer for ARCADE said, “It’s been great to showcase what Scarborough can do. From the original commissioning to the design and fabrication, Signs of the Times has been a local endeavour by local people. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve, and I thank the Scarborough Town Centre Team and Yorkshire Coast BID for the confidence that had in us.”

All six artworks will be illuminated from 10am until 10pm until Saturday 6 January 2024.

For more information go to hello-arcade.com/signs-of-the-times.

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