Budding artists to spruce up empty Preston shops

Posted on - 31st August, 2009 - 6:35pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Business

The former Woolworths store on Preston high streetWandering down Preston’s high street there’s a growing number of empty retail units, with the old Woolworths store the most noticeable. However, that could be changing as a new government fund to kick start art in empty spaces is open for business.


Artists and arts organisations will be able to bid to create public art in empty shop fronts. The Arts Council website states:

Artists are able to apply for grants to support artistic activity that will transform empty retail units into creative spaces – anything from an art gallery to recording studios or family arts workshops – which the whole community can enjoy.

There’s £500,000 available for projects across the UK and Preston’s allocation is £52,632 and projects that can begin within three months are the most likely to receive funding.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, says of the scheme:

The arts offer escape and comfort in tough times and they have the power to play a key role in our recovery from recession.

Art in empty spaces is a wonderful way for artists to connect with even more people in unexpected places and to turn the depressing sight of another empty shop into an encounter with something different.

Let’s hope that some Preston artists or arts organisations get their thinking caps on and get one of our empty retail spaces transformed into something that everyone can enjoy and brighten up the high street.

If you’re a budding artist or member of an arts organisation you can apply via the Arts Council website or if you’ve got any suggestions about what could be done with the empty shop fronts post your comments below.

Image credit to Tony Worrall

Related: Preston Tweetup II – How can we support the arts in Preston?

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