Empty spaces in town centre emerge as evolving art installation's inspiration

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 16 Feb 2018

What would you like to see in the empty spaces around Grimsby?

That’s the question being asked by a new “evolving” art display which will explore potential uses for the town’s vacant buildings.

Regenerei8ht is the latest show at Blip a window-based installation at the former Rachel store in Victoria Street South.

The new display features a slideshow of digitally drawn and altered local buildings alongside a selection of quotes from the Grimsby Town Deal and local news reports about the ongoing regeneration plans lined up for the area over the next few years.

The installation, by artist Marc Renshaw, has so far taken in two Saturday performances with more on the way over the coming weeks.

It follows other displays by artists Ellie Collins and Tracey Payne which saw “artefacts with a ‘not quite’ quality” and “inflatable entities” capture the attention of passers-by.

Blip is described as “a transient intervention” and is made possible by Vacant Space; a programme by Axisweb enabling artists, creatives and projects to access empty commercial properties across the UK.

Explaining the thought process behind the latest exhibition, Marc said breathing new life into the former clothing store with previous installations allowed the team to consider the importance of making use of vacant spaces.

He said: “For the latest incarnation of the year-long exhibition (space dependent) I’ll be highlighting short extracts from the Grimsby Town Deal as a starting point to educate myself about the proposed process of Grimsby regeneration, and hopefully through this process, share key information with those who look in the window so they can get more informed and involved in shaping their future town.

“Further down the high street there is another empty shop with the words ‘NO HOPE’ sprayed over the whitewashed frontage. We ask ‘What would you prefer to see in empty spaces in your town centre?’

“For this show, we’ve taken an open-ended approach – considering potential future uses for the empty spaces, of which there are many in the town centre and making things happen.

“Last week we had a delicious all day breakfast in the window space, courtesy of Rick’s Diner on the market, as part of an hour-long performance.

“It generated lots of laughter and curiosity from the passing public, which was nice on a grey Saturday morning. We wanted to highlight that notion that contemporary art can be fun, accessible and unexpected.”

Not only is the display intended to create debate on potential future uses for derelict spaces in Grimsby, but ideas generated will also be passed on to the team working on regenerating the town centre.

Marc added: “I’m looking forward to the public consultations and the potential for hope. I’d like locals to really have their say on how the potential of regeneration could benefit everyone.

“Everyone will have their own ideas about what the town needs and I look to our space as an alternative place for exploring and suggesting ideas, which we’d pass onto The Grimsby Deal team. For Regenerei8ht, we have an open brief. What is regeneration? What role can art play?”

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