News Column

It's art for [pounds]1 as college turns shop into a gallery

May 6, 2014

Duncan Leatherdale

IT may no longer be a discount shop but visitors to a town centre's new art gallery will still be able to buy things for [pounds]1.

Art students have taken over the former Poundstretcher in the centre of Bishop Auckland and re-opened it as a gallery in which they can display their work.

And Bishop Auckland College's fine arts lecturer Michael Hope, who works under the artist name Pinky Binks, said they will create a special range of art works selling for [pounds]1 each.

He said: "It's a nod to what this shop has been for a long time as well as being an exciting new venture for the town."

The shop, which has a dominating position on the corner of Fore Bondgate, Newgate Street and the market place, has been empty since the Poundstretcher moved to an out-of-town site at Tindale Crescent, about a mile from the town centre.

But it reopened for the Bishop Auckland Food Festival last weekend, with more than 2,100 people passing through its doors to see the students' work.

Mr Hope said: "It was a great few days and there was a lot of interest.

"Some people were just pleased to see something opening in such a prominent position in the town while others really appreciated the art.

"We hope it will appeal to a lot of people, both residents and visitors to the town, and inspiremore people to take up art.

"A round 500 people left comments and the vast majority were very positive.

"The negative ones did not like some of the art but that's the beauty of it all, it is so subjective.

"There was no one unhappy with shop being open as a gallery."

Aaron Jackson, from Witton-le-Wear, near Bishop Auckland, was one of the art students displaying his work.

He said: "This is great for me because it is so close to home and will hopefullymake the children around here realise that they can follow their art ambitions."

The gallery, which also has studio space, has been supported by Navigator North and East Street Arts and the first exhibition was called Seven Journeys.

Work included footprints of ahamster and tyre marks on paper, as well as one student's nostalgic look back on her childhood.

The gallery is currently closed while the exhibition is changed.

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Source: Northern Echo (England)

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