Community Local News

Expanding the horizons for community art pop up shop just in time for Christmas

Unity Art Studio and Gallery moved into Andover Chantry Centre in October. The pop-up shop at Unit 9 Chantry Way is being used as a 4 person studio and art gallery, where local artists make their work as well as exhibit and sell it. The artists who have invested in this new venture so far, are Andover residents Caroline Perkins, Maija Liepins and Emily Marsh.

Long term artist, Caroline who has undertaken several art degrees, and will be starting her Masters at the Royal college of Art next September, has been on the hunt for an art studio for some time. She (Caroline) told Andover Radio 95.9fm that she has been overwhelmed at how supporting and ‘accommodating‘ Test Valley Borough council have been on her search for a studio. Caroline explained that she knew she had to find other local artists to come on-board with her to make the community venture work and has been lucky to find such a massive space to work alongside some amazingly talented artists, Emily and Maija.

As the space is so huge, they are still looking for a fourth artist to share the studio and gallery. The team have links with Andover college, Hampshire arts collective and hope that they will exhibit art work in the shops gallery. Unity Art studio would also like to invite people to get in touch if they would like their work included in exhibitions, which they aim to have displayed for two to three weeks at a time by contacting them here.

Caroline explained that the once the shop opens to public on the 2nd December, members of the public can come in and “watch us at work” as part of the community vibe.

It’s Unity’s plan to run workshops including, abstract, life drawing and have a poets corner. Caroline really wants to engage with people and the community at large in Andover. Caroline told Andover Radio, ‘art is a way of life for me, I am able to create a language of emotion‘ she went on to say that she feels that her art work helps her to connect to a ‘hidden self’. After putting her art career on hold for 15 years to bring up her children, Caroline is very excited be be back doing what she loves right in the centre of Andover.

Emily Marsh told Andover radio 95.9fmUnity has given me the opportunity to have the space to be creative and work on larger piece’s of art work, alongside likeminded people, this will give me the freedom to grow my creativity. As a Artist with a hidden disability I’ve become very isolated and doubting my capability as an artist. But in this short time of renting this space my confidence has already grown, and look forward to getting a good catalogue of my work together for exhibition in the future, meeting other artists and planning some great ideas and events for the future of Unity studio and gallery with two fantastic friends ”.

CAS Associate Artist, Maija Liepins says – “space to work as an artist can be hard to find and is so prized, I’ve always made art in between and amongst my home and work life so this step of renting a shop has the potential to really change everything – the way I work, the kind of work I make, and how I share it. One things for sure – I’m very excited, and also very touched by the warm welcome from our neighbours and enthusiasm from all – it seems like people simply can’t wait for us to see us open. We will be ready to do so when the national lockdown lifts in December.

The Unity Arts Studio are set to open on the 2nd December 2020 for initially 4 months but in the in the meantime please follow @unity_arts_studios on Instagram.