Big beach clean-up: Scarborough Museums Trust tackle plastic pollution in new environmental art exhibition


Following a donation of £2,500 from Scarborough-based supermarket Proudfoot, Scarborough Museums Trust have commissioned local artists to tackle the issue of plastic pollution in a new environmentally focused exhibition, ScarboroArt. The exciting and innovative exhibition will go on display in Scarborough Art Gallery from 15 September until 6 January 2019.

The kind donation from Proudfoot, raised solely from the sale of 5p single use carrier bags, inspired the Trust to delve further into the issue of plastic pollution – a hot topic in Britain at present. As a coastal town, the current environmental problems unrecycled plastic causes to the seas is particularly relevant to the people of Scarborough.

Stirred by the topic and using the money from the donation, the trust have been motivated to approach the issue through a new exhibition, ScarboroArt. As well as focusing on the environmental issues raised, the Trust are hoping the exhibition will become a community project, highlighting the people of Scarborough’s pride in protecting the town’s beautiful coastline.


As a result, they have invited local artists to work with manmade materials recovered as part of a public beach clean-up, where members of the local community will be invited to take part in clearing the beach of any pollution. Using the foraged materials, the artists will then produce artwork inspired by the seascapes depicted in the Art Gallery’s collection.

Jennifer Dunne, Collections Manager at Scarborough Museums Trust, commented: “We were delighted when Proudfoot’s approached us with a kind offer to donate money to the Trust through the sale of plastic bags to their customers. So much so that it has inspired one of our forthcoming projects.

The recycling issues that prompted the introduction of plastic bag sales and the current environmental problems facing our seas due to rising plastic pollution made us reconsider how to approach our next temporary exhibition. In autumn 2018 we have an exhibition planned at Scarborough Art Gallery called ScarboroArt. This exhibition will invite local artists to take inspiration from seascape paintings in our collections and reinterpret them by creating their own new works. However, we have now decided to expand the project and will be inviting the public to join us for a beach clean-up. Some of the artists will then use the materials collected as the medium for their artwork.”

Valerie Aston, director at The Proudfoot Group, added: “Despite seeing a huge decline in the usage of single use carrier bags in our stores following the introduction of the 5p charge, we are delighted that the funds raised from the remaining carrier bags bought by our customers are able to support some fantastic local causes.”


ScarboroArt will be on display from 15 September until 6 January 2019. The exhibition is free with a £3 Annual Pass and free for under 18s. The Trust will be releasing details of their public beach clean-up in the next month and invite everyone to get involved.