Turning empty spaces into makeshift galleries, Changing Spaces is a pioneering new initiative being developed by Cambridge City Council in partnership with Love Cambridge.
One of Alice Hill's gorgeous works - on show as part of Changing Spaces
Changing Spaces is a pioneering new initiative being developed by Cambridge City Council in partnership with Love Cambridge. Turning empty spaces into makeshift galleries, the project is curated by Georgia Artus and has given a much needed boost to cutting-edge art in the city. It will culminate in August with 15-20 shopfronts filled with original works.
Despite being a leading cultural city in Europe, Cambridge faces a very real lack of affordable, social and creative space – and local activists increasingly risk headlong confrontations with the police to enter-and-occupy unused buildings in the area (see Cambridge Free Spaces) in attempts to address the issue. There is a need for initiatives such as Changing Spaces in order to tackle a real shortage of resources for the hundreds of talented artists and musicians in the area who have very few places to showcase their work. Local charity groups are also being invited to participate in a six-week scheme to enter certain empty units.
Artists have always been attracted to empty urban spaces – from the galleries of New York’s Bushwick, Brooklyn, to Berlin’s vibrant art scene. And as more and more shops close on the high street, projects such as Changing Spaces mark a wider trend in the UK. Other similar projects include Wembley’s Wasted Spaces
initiative and the very popular Empty Shop gallery
in Durham. In Cambridge, empty shop windows across the city will be decorated by works of art from local artists and charity groups throughout August and September.
Cambridge School of Art graduate Alice Hill
opened a series of shows appearing in the shopfront on 82 Regent St, Cambridge, as part of Positiveworld Studios – a vibrant network and working studio space for creatives from all backgrounds that also gives back to the community. Alice’s modern paintings are inspired by flowers and the body and have a polished, contemporary edge.
Alice says of Positiveworld Studios, that are based inside the Social Enterprise Centre in Cambridge: “it’s been the perfect next step for me as an artist. I’m free to paint what I want, when I want”. There is an open invitation to creatives from all over the world to join Positiveworld Studios to take part in projects and give back to their community.
Positiveworld Studios is also exhibiting work by Alan Hudlestone, Jill Fordham, Georgina Cook, Jennie Kirner, Lee Hyde and Austin Whiteside. The shopfront closes the two-month stretch of shows in September with conceptual artpiece Rody’s Friends Are For Sale, an installation made from an inflatable horse found in New York – Rody – and a collection of yellow plastic ducks. Each duck on sale raises money for tree planting, as led by charity Trees For Life.