We have successfully found our first pop up shop! We have been trying to get an empty shop for the Wanstead Art Trail for a number of years.
This year, as part of our Art Trail Theme “We Are the Environment’ we planned to do a project which is about more than just displaying art. This time we want to get local people involved in a community map which we are calling ‘Love Up Wanstead’ which is being led by Sam Cowan.
The need for a space became more important and we even explored using Wanstead tube station (not possible as it is being refurbished) whilst approaching 3 currently empty shops in the High Street. One (an old bank earmarked for Sainsbury’s) “work on the premises is expected to begin very soon”, another “has been rented out”; the third was a bit tentative at first and there were a few hesitations (like ‘the restaurant next door stores their furniture there’, and ‘I’m not sure about the electrics’) but it didn’t sound like a ‘No’.
With a bit of persisting and actually checking with the restaurant myself about their furniture (‘no problem’) the landlord agreed that we could use the shop for the length of the art trail on the understanding that we would clean it up and restore it to how we found it afterwards. It was just a verbal agreement and in fact the shop will look much better than how we found it.. In the end it was as simple as that – I walked the high street, found the empty shops, sought out the landlord, asked, and used a little persuasion!
There is a useful organisation called the empty shops network and it has a very useful workbook to help with running a pop up shop.
The Wanstead art trail runs from 5th-20th September and is open to artists and keen amateurs who live or work in the Wanstead area or have links in the area, such as attending a course here. It gives artists a chance to reach a wider audience and to make the area a more exciting place to live and visit.