Robin’s vow on arts festival after illness

Robin Ross
Robin Ross
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A cultural festival which saw artists from across the globe paint unique murals around the town will not go ahead this year after the organiser fell ill.

Robin Ross has been in poor health for the last four months, and is unable to orchestrate this year’s Sand, Sea and Spray art display.

Guest artists from the United States and Russia were due to arrive in Blackpool in the coming weeks, to complete pieces on the side of buildings and close to some of the resort’s attractions.

Previous years have seen artists revamp the exterior of rundown buildings by emblazoning them with their renowned artwork, or using abandoned billboard signs at the back of the Winter Gardens, to fill them with vibrant and colourful work.

Mr Ross said: “The illness has blown my socks off, and I can’t do this.

“I received the funding for this year, but had to send it back because I can’t complete it.

“To pull this project together takes a year, and all year round I’m looking for artists, talking to them and the sad thing is I had artists coming for this year.

“I need a lot of people and there are more than 40 artists from all over the world, so it doesn’t get done in five minutes.

“The council has been amazing, and so has Arts Council England, it’s just my health issue.”

Mr Ross says the artwork completed in 2013 will last until next year when he is confident Sand, Sea and Spray will return.

He added: “The artwork from last year is staying.

“It lasts at least two years before it starts to deteriorate, and there are some amazing people working to get it back on next year.

“The artists have all understood what’s happened, and the kudos of the event is such that we still have Americans who want to come over.”

The 2013 displays attracted 30,000 visitors to the resort to view the artwork, and it is hoped a similar amount of visitors will come back to the resort in 2015.

“When we counted all the cars and people up over the days it came to that figure and that was amazing,” added Mr Ross.

“We had press in Bangladesh and Russia, which was barmy and amazing.”