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Art gallery 'pops up' in Widnes town centre
TWO empty shops in Widnes have been converted into art galleries and workshops.
It is hoped the project will breathe new life into the town centre and give talented artists a chance to showcase their work.
Widnes artist Natalie McGahan is one of the first to exhibit in the Albert Square ‘pop up exhibition’ with Katie Pennington, Kathryn Wilson, Vicci Holmes and Marsha Balaeva.
Arts graduate and former SS Fisher & More pupil, Natalie, aged 41, who lives in the town centre, said: “The spaces can be used by individuals and groups.
“We can have studios upstairs and exhibitions downstairs. I am hoping to run some taster classes and get schools involved.”
Natalie, who created a mural at Runcorn market, believes it is a great opportunity for local art students.
Runcorn fine art graduate Gary Looker will be putting his work on show later this month.
Halton Council teamed up with the Castlefield Gallery and Agency to develop the project.
New Art Spaces co-ordinator Nicholas James said:”We want to animate the empty units by having a number of artists using the first floor as a studio space and displaying new artwork in the shop.
“The exhibitions will create more foot fall within the shopping district as visitors will come from all over Halton and the north west.
“Local shops will benefit as artists and the exhibition audiences will bring in daily trade to Widnes.”
The gallery is in negotiation with a number of landlords and local authorities to build up a portfolio of temporary leases to make them available for art projects.
Halton Council’s visual arts officer Louise Hesketh has been promoting the spaces to local artists and groups, including Hazlehurst Craft Studios in Runcorn.
Students at Riverside College has also been invited to display their art.
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