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COMMERCIALISATION

"We see 250,000 people coming through our doors every week - how many art galleries can say that?" Ian McLelland, centre director, EK, East Kilbride

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artists via a variety of mediums to sell the concept of the space and managed to open with 30 creatives on board,” say Matheson and Kidd. “Since we have opened the response has been so positive that people are actively searching us out. We now have 50 creatives in the space and applications continue to come in daily.” Similarly, at Basingstoke’s Festival Place, pop-up arts and crafts have become a fixture with the likes of That Gallery, an artist-led pop-up exhibition currently hosted in a prominent 12,175-sq ft unit and the All Our Own Crafts gallery, currently trading in a 2,400-sq ft unit. Over all the temporary pop-up shops the centre has opened since 2014 they have sold crafts handmade by dozens local people, and also hold regular workshops in the shop for interested visitors to learn a new craft for themselves. In Cardiff, St David's Public Art Programme was part of the regeneration of Cardiff City Centre and included seven art projects within the shopping centre. This included a charity campaign called “We Loves The ‘Diff” which raised £30,000 for three local homeless charities. “Customers love local initiatives, and at St David’s art has proved to be a fantastic medium for engaging shoppers, the local community and businesses to help raise

awareness of the work of charities,” says Colin Flinn, regional director at intu. “It also offers a real point of difference for our shoppers and means we can support local cult brands such as I Loves the ‘Diff, enabling more people to discover their work, adding to area’s arts and cultural scene.” Taking the concept of art in a different direction, Fareham shopping centre in Hampshire worked with the Space to trade, installing a borrowed, mint condition 1995 Ford RS Cosworth, on loan from the Ford Heritage Museum. “The definition of art is largely personal, but in the main, ‘art’ consists of a deliberate action that evokes an emotional response,” says Space to Trade’s Nancy Finch. “And the Cosworth on display at Fareham shopping centre certainly evoked response from the public.” Art is a distinctly subjective concept, getting the offering right can be difficult. Will it fit with the aesthetic of the centre? Will people like it? Can it be controversial? If it’s a commissioned piece, is it genuine art, or does its commercial innateness tarnish its artistic integrity? There are many things to consider in deciding what role art can play in a centre, but it is certainly something that can add to the experiential pull of retail. JULY 2017 SHOPPING CENTRE

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Shopping Centre July 2017  
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