Tuesday, April 22, 2014

News: Burnt-out buildings brightened by artwork

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The Gallery Town project has provided a blank canvas for local students as regeneration in Rotherham town centre continues.

In September 2011, Rotherham became Gallery Town when a group of local entrepreneurs got together to arrange for 60 large pieces of artwork – including work by Rotherham students, local artists and some of the world's greatest painters – to be installed in key outdoor locations around the town.

Now a row of derelict buildings on Corporation Street have been added to the open air gallery. Over recent years the buildings, including the Muskaan restaurant and Envy night club had fallen into disrepair, and so the decision was made to revamp one of the town centre's key streets.

The partnership between McDonalds Restaurants, Year 8 art students from Thrybergh Academy and Rotherham Borough Council's Shop Local and Gallery Town projects, gave the students a blank canvas to work with along the full length of the buildings' ground floors.

The students were given a brief to improve the look of the street and promote retail shopping in Rotherham Town Centre, especially the town's independent alternative offer. They came up with images for a colourful row of shops including a retro clothes shop, a sweets/cake shop and a florist.

Craig Buck of McDonald's said: "We jumped at the chance to be part of this project and were happy to help tidy up these empty units, including getting our hands dirty and painting! We even have a small version of the artwork inside our restaurant on Bridgegate, we liked it that much."

Bernadette Rushton, retail investment manager at Rotherham Borough Council, added: "Corporation Street is an important entry point into the town centre for shoppers and visitors alike. Much work has been done to the upper part of the street with the Minster Gardens and addition of new retailers, and the disused buildings are not up to the standard of the rest.

"It has been great to work with McDonalds and the Thrybergh Academy students, and we are very pleased with the results. Not only does it highlight the range of independent shops within the Town Centre but it is good to see the perspective from our younger Rotherham residents."

Rothbiz revealed earlier this month that discussions are taking place between developers and Rotherham Council regarding a high quality mixed use development on the site of the two large burnt out buildings on Corporation Street.

As regeneration work continues on the High Street, decorative hoardings are also being used to highlight what the restored Three Cranes and Georgian town house could look like when complete.

Gallery Town website

Images: Gallery Town

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