Community artist Sandra Ehlers held a live art exhibition at a closing-down station cafe as a special goodbye thank you, and a public bid to call upon local businesses with the space to support those like herself.

The independent cafe – Milk ‘n’ Sugar, based at Southend Victoria station – closed last week after it lost out on a new contract to a higher bidder.

Sandra, 57, from Southend, who had been resident artist at the cafe, said: “The cafe has been brilliant in allowing me to exhibit work for some time and it has given me a profile. As a community awareness artist, working solo, it can be very hard to find places to exhibit your work. With this cafe gone there is no resident position for me anymore.”

She added: “Local businesses need to get involved with local artists like myself. You have art trails, which are brilliant, but they only happen over a short burst of time.

“As a ‘community awareness artist’, I provide art for sale and just for the promotion of public awareness, highlighting issues around ethical living and the changing community.

“If businesses have the space, even if it is just a wall, they might find they benefit enormously from being open to doing this. Art is classless and it gets customers talking and thinking, whether they like the piece or not.

Even if it doesn’t prove financial lucrative to the trader, it will give them a profile. It’s definitely a two-way thing.”

Find out more about Sandra at