BID launches monthly showcase of artists, designers and makers.
A celebration of the best in local creativity is coming to Blackburn this summer with something for visitors who enjoy a retail experience with a festival feel, exploring side streets with unusual artwork, hand made gifts and homewares, painting, ceramics, sculpture and craft.
A collective of established entrepreneurs and new businesses with shops on Town Hall Street are working with the Blackburn BID (business improvement district) to regenerate interest in a newly re-developed artisan quarter of the town centre a monthly ‘makers market’.
The Town Hall Street Fair will display some of the finest artists, designers and makers from across the region in a pavement gallery of up to twenty stalls in the pedestrianised area which was historically known as Thunder Alley and a bustling street which was the site of the original Co-operative department store, now Blackburn Library.
The Town Hall Street Fairs will involve the businesses opposite the new library entrance under the direction of event manager and curator Heather Fox of Hopeful & Glorious. She has organised similar activities at Lytham Hall and previously set up the Platform Art Gallery in Clitheroe.
Stalls will be set up as a pavement gallery either side of the pedestrianised area, with the existing businesses such as the Spiritual Emporium, No 11 and Rebound showcasing with outdoor activities and arts workshops in No 11 and the library.
There will also be street entertainment and activities for children linking including a workshop with artist Kate Bufton using recycled books in August. The events will take place on four Saturdays over the summer, Saturday 20 June, Saturday 18 July, Saturday 15 August and Saturday 12 September.
Heather Fox from Hopeful and Glorious, said: “We are helping the Blackburn BID set up an exciting new monthly makers event to help support a number of specialist businesses on Town Hall Street. We plan to start with a small number of arts and crafts stalls in June and grow this as a sustainable model each month.”
The events are being financially supported by the Blackburn BID as part of the Attract & Support strand of activity to increase footfall in response to the appeal by levy payers. Blackburn BID Manager Harriet Roberts said, ‘This is an idea that has come from the BID members as levy payers themselves and there’s a strong swell of support for making it work. We hope that other businesses, not just those on Town Hall Street will benefit as people find out about shops, businesses and cafés on a side of town that they may not usually visit. If the pilot is successful it could be extended to other areas and indoor spaces such as Blackburn Market. This is a great way to introduce people to parts of the town that they might not have visited recently to see the changes.’
The first event in June coincides with the BID’s Countryside Comes to Town event when there will be street theatre throughout the day linked to the nature theme. The September event will link with the BID’s Blackburn Heritage Festival activities which includes a vintage fairground on King William Street.