The Arts Forum was officially founded in December 2003 with an inaugural conference at the Boundaries Centre on the Ridge, Hastings. The seed of the original idea came from Anthony Hack, while he was researching and setting up 'Hastings Arts' an online artists gallery. Under the guidance of Hastings Voluntary Action, he collaborated with local writer Alastair Fairley to co-found a small group. After several meetings there was a growing interest and attendance in the primary purpose of 'representing and promoting the arts community'. Further ideas and projects were established, core aims agreed and following the conference a constituted steering group formally set in place.