CSM pop-up gallery
Four graduates from Central Saint Martins have turned an empty shop into a pop-up art gallery on the back of a £3 million government revival scheme.
The scheme allows artists, designers, and community groups to use vacant shops to showcase their work, on a short and low cost lease.
Alessia Giardino and Emmie Joseph - graduates from the MA Design For Textile Futures course - have just completed a month showcasing their project ‘Surface Stories’ in a pop up art gallery in West London.
Despite the economic crisis seeing long-running stores, such as Woolworths, close their doors, Giardino and Joseph saw this as an opportunity, and when they heard about Camden Council’s plans to fill a vacant shop in Tavistock Place with work from CSM students, they jumped at the chance.
Joseph said: “I contacted the council after hearing of their scheme through our tutor. I thought little of it at first but when they replied, they offered myself, Alessia and two other classmates the chance to showcase our work for a whole month. It has proven priceless in terms of networking and reaching out to people we would otherwise not have access to.”
Camden Council leader, Keith Moffitt said: "This striking gallery will bring more people to the local area and offer these talented artists a place to exhibit their work. It is important that we do everything we can to support small businesses and entrepreneurs during the recession."
With a predicted 72,000 shops being closed by the end of the year, Dan Thompson of The Empty Shops Network said that the benefits of filling these spaces will be an increase in visitors, making for a brighter town centre.
“The users benefit from low-cost space on short and easy-to-manage leases, meaning they can take a bigger risk on bolder, more innovative and experimental projects,” he said.
Giardino and Joseph agreed, saying: “We would jump at the chance to showcase in an empty shop again. We’ve had people from all over the world come in, including a gallery owner from Hong Kong.”
If you are interested in using one of many spaces available across the country, visit Empty Shops Network online, or contact your local council for details.