Design Collective Chichester speaks out about The King of Cats!

Written by Claire Pascoe and Emily Penny

On November 29th 2018 this letter sent by Design Collective Chichester was published by Chichester Observer.

‘The vast majority in Chichester love the street art that has sprung up around our city streets. It gives joy to so many residents and visitors of all ages, adding another dimension to our beautiful city. Street art is such an important form of art. It draws people to a city and provides an opportunity for visitors and locals to share images via social media, raising its profile too.

So why did it take a letter supported by a mere 62 signatories to convince the council that ‘The King of Cats’, a much-loved piece by well-known Street Artist Joachim, must go? We see no evidence that the council sought to invite wider views before making a decision that detrimentally affected us all.

As soon as the news reached the wider community, there was an outcry across social media.

Thousands expressed their shock, sadness and disgust that this matter was swept through behind closed doors. Over 4000 people responded to a Chichester Observer poll on the issue, with an overwhelming 92% voting in favour to keep The King of Cats. But, of course, that was too late… the matter, and artwork, had literally been whitewashed.

Design Collective Chichester is a group formed by and consisting of design professionals in and around Chichester including architects, graphic designers, illustrators, interior designers and more. We would have valued the opportunity to input into this debate before it was too late – and welcome future consultation on important decisions relating to art and design. We urge Chichester Council to embrace social media to ensure they reach all groups within the communities they represent.

Thanks to the wonders of social media, Joachim heard the call of the people and accepted their invitation to him to return to Chichester. During the small hours of Saturday night he returned and gave us a wonderful new piece of artwork: ‘The Watchdog’ - designed to look over and protect the people of Chichester against antisocial behaviour. We hope it helps keep other art safe.'

From Design Collective Chichester members:

Clare Pascoe, Interior Designer

Julia Grant, Owner of Winter's Moon

Alys Bryan, Furniture Designer

Emily Penny, Brand Consultant

Sara Watkins, Digital Designer

Barry Jenkins, Product Designer