Artists needed to help Paint The Town

PUBLISHED: 09:58 27 June 2013 | UPDATED: 14:54 27 June 2013

Weston's empty shops could be given a makeover by some of the town's talented artists.

Weston's empty shops could be given a makeover by some of the town's talented artists.

Archant

ARTISTS, photographers and other creative folk are needed for a new project to turn Weston's empty shops into 'pieces of art'.

Few sights are more depressing for shoppers and retailers during the ongoing economic downturn than closed and boarded-up shops.

With many retailers struggling to keep their heads above water, fresh new initiatives to increase the vibrancy and vitality of town centres are being actively encouraged.

Some £100,000 of Mary Portas funding has been made available for this very purpose in North Somerset – and a one such project is being launched in Weston today (Thursday).

Kirsten Hemingway of Weston Arts Gallery - a partner in the Weston COG think-tank - has secured £3,500 of the Portas money to recruit artists, photographers and film-makers to help turn these empty shops into artworks.

The Mercury is supporting the Paint The Town scheme, which wants people to paint shop fronts and shutters, add pictures or murals to closed premises, or simply display artworks, photographs or local films in the shop windows.

Grants of up to £250 each are on offer for ‘anything that can turn an empty shop into a piece of art’.

Kirsten said: “You only have to attend a COG meeting or talk to anyone about Weston to find out how much talent we have in the town. This project will enable that talent to be used in a practical way.

“Our local traders fight the perception given by empty shops to potential customers travelling round the town, this scheme will provide shoppers with a reason to come off the High Street and visit other areas with exceptional, niche shops.

“It turns our town into a gallery – full of all types of art work.”

The competition opens today (Thursday), and joint applications from landlords and artists or community groups can be made up until July 17.

Weston Arts Gallery in Locking Road and Town Hall will display the entries so the public can vote for the bids they want to see become reality.

Favourites will then be featured in the Mercury and on the gallery’s website, before voting closes on July 27. The plan is for winners to receive their cash at the beginning of August, and for the winning designs to be finished by September.

Entry forms can be requested electronically from kirsten@westonartsgallery.co.uk, or downloaded by clicking the link on the top right-hand side of this page, or from the competition’s own site www.paintthetownwsm.org.uk

Alternatively, hard copies can be collected from the gallery, the Mercury office in Waterloo Street, or the Town Hall. Completed forms can be returned to the same place. For more details call 01934 626616.

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