Artists in Southend are organising a movement to protest Sir David Amess’ plans to make the town an Alternative City of Culture for 2017.

A local artist known as Scottee, who lives in Westcliff, has organised the No Culture Day set to take place on January 1 because he and a group of fellow artists felt the plans for the cultural festival next year do not represent Southend properly.

Scottee, 31, said: “I’m a member of a collective of artists that work along the estuary and none of us have been asked to get involved.

“When you go on the festival’s website, the programme of events is very vague none of which really represent what culture in Southend is all about.”

The Alternative City of Culture was thought up by Southend West MP Sir David Amess when the town failed to make the shortlist to be named the UK’s City of Culture which went to Hull.

But Sir David decided that Southend should not be side-lined and has organised a programme of events to take place throughout the year to showcase what the town has to offer.

The website details various events including an acting, performance and dance show, a fashion show, a food and drink fair and art exhibitions showcasing local artists but no specific details are given.

No Culture Day, which is asking people to boycott the launch of David Amess’ festival on January 1 and instead abstain from culture for the day, has also attracted the support of Ray Morgan of Sundown Arts, an event that features everything from spoken word to live music and performance art.

Ray wrote in his blog: “I’m proud to say I’m from here. We have a rich artistic heritage, from Constable painting Hadleigh Castle in the 1800s through to Dr. Feelgood in the 1970s. The Alternative City of Culture launch smacks of someone who doesn’t have a handle on the real cultural output of Southend. And I know that I support the 'No Culture Day’ in protest of this.”

Scottee added: “Local artists don’t agree with this because we have not been involved.

“It should be well thought out ideas that show off the art in Southend and we want to raise awareness of local artists who are concerned about what this says about us.”

For more info on the event visit