A boarded-up shop in York city centre is to reopen for at least a year in a colourful new guise.
Arts charity Skippko are set to revitalise Coney Street via their Blank Canvas programme after agreeing a lease at 29/31 Coney Street, which they plan to use as a pop-up art space for local artists.
The Blank Canvas programme uses empty buildings on a temporary basis for studio, community and pop-up space.
They have provided local artists with various studio spaces in and around York over the past few years alongside pop-ups in Gillygate, Goodramgate and Blake Street.
The Coney Street space was previously Dorothy Perkins and Burtons – and with over 7,000 square feet of space it gives the scheme plenty of space to play with.
It has been given over to the charity by owners the Helmsley Group.
Skippko’s Blank Canvas coordinator in York Phil Dodsworth thanked the Helmsley Group for their support.
“The Helmsley Group have a fantastic vision for improving this part of York in the coming years and they are keen to promote local artists by allowing us to use this space for the next 12-18 months,” he said.
“My idea is to create a pop-up space where local artists and makers can create a unique and original exhibition space, showcasing many different mediums.
“York has a fantastic array of artists and makers, so to house a selection of them under one roof in the city centre is a really exciting and original concept.”
The gallery will open when the current lockdown restrictions are lifted, after 2 December.
Then, shoppers will be able to view and buy locally produced, original art and crafts.
Phil described the development as “a brilliant boost to the city centre”.
“At a time when sadly, many shops and stores are closing their doors, it’s exciting that we are able to get an empty space back into use.
“Additionally, other retailers benefit from the extra footfall the space generates and it brings a good buzz to the street.
“Skippko are really keen to support local artists, many of whom have lost much of their income over the past few months.”
How artists can get involved
Artists and makers interested in using the space can contact Phil Dodsworth for further information and to register their interest.
Email [email protected]. Please state if you are interested in ground floor / basement level space, or if you have no preference.
Please provide information on your art, including images of your work and website/social media pages.
Due to Covid restrictions they will not be able to offer spaces to as many artists as originally anticipated – “but we hope to provide rolling exhibition space to facilitate as many local artists and makers as possible over the coming months”.
Max Reeves, director at The Helmsley Group, said: “We are delighted to see Skippko taking occupation of this building.
“Helmsley have worked with them as an organisation for many years
supporting the arts sector and are excited to see their vision for this space come to fruition.”
Phil Pinder of York Retail Forum said: “It’s really exciting to get this project off the ground in what can only be described as the most challenging of times for the High Street.
“It shows what can be achieved when property owners are prepared to work collaboratively to bring empty shops back into use.”