Haverhill's empty shops could get an artistic makeover thanks to a new innovation
Haverhill Town Council has unveiled plans for a community art initiative to brighten up the small number of empty town centre shops.
Local artists, young and old, are being asked to submit work which will see windows of empty shop units transformed through vinyl prints of their artwork.
The innovative art project is one of many measures that Haverhill Town Council is funding to encourage people to shop local, with support from One Haverhill Partnership, the Heart of Haverhill town centre business group and West Suffolk Council.
Colin Poole, Haverhill town clerk, said: “We are inviting anyone in Haverhill who may be an amateur or professional artist, or aspire to be, to email us photos of their pictures.
“We intend to select a number of them that are suitable for the available spaces and replicate them in the High Street.
“It may surprise people that Haverhill has just 10 empty High Street units at the moment out of almost 100, with only one empty unit in Queen’s Street.
“We feel those buildings will provide a perfect platform to showcase the creativity and artistic skills of our community.
“We know that where other towns have embarked on similar projects they have been warmly received with positive feedback from shoppers and workers alike. We hope what will make our scheme particularly special is that we are celebrating our own CB9 talent.”
Haverhill mayor, Cllr John Burns added: “Judging by the work currently being displayed on the digital sign outside Haverhill Arts Centre, I have every confidence that the people of Haverhill will, as ever, step up to the plate and we will deliver something bright, beautiful and unique to our town.”
John Mayhew, chairman of ONE Haverhill Partnership and spokesman for Heart of Haverhill, said: “We are delighted to support this attempt to brighten up our High Street. Everything we currently do to make our High Street more welcoming helps attract footfall which, in turn, helps all our businesses.”
The town council has approved an initial fund of £10,000 to support promoting shop local schemes.
The arts project is one part of the Haverhill response under the county-wide safer spaces initiative, which has seen the existing restrictions on motorised traffic entering the High Street enforced with physical barriers, to enable people to use the whole width of the road to safely distance and shop, and for traders to come out onto the pavement.
Any artist, who must live or work in Haverhill or the surrounding area, who would like to be involved should email firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday, October 30.
More details of the terms and conditions are available on the town council’s and Haverhill Arts Centre’s website and Facebook pages.