A boost for artists slap-bang in Warrington

A pop-up exhibition featuring 20 early-career artists has launched at a unique venue in Warrington town centre.

Culture Warrington has teamed up with north west artist-led organisation Short Supply and Castlefield Gallery to provide a platform and showcase for emerging northern creatives.

The visual artists, from a range of backgrounds and disciplines, will be presenting their work within Warrington’s former Marks and Spencer store in Sankey Street throughout December.

The shop has been transformed into a temporary exhibition and project space by Castlefield Gallery under the name ‘New Art Spaces: Warrington’.

Culture Warrington and Short Supply particularly wanted to offer a boost to artists who are just starting out in their careers but have been at a distinct disadvantage in making a name for themselves because of the pandemic.

The exhibition is called Slap-Bang as a nod to Warrington being right between two cultural hubs, Manchester and Liverpool. How are people living and working outside of city centres surviving some of the harshest conditions to affect artist in recent memory?

Leah Biddle, Cultural Manager at Culture Warrington, said: “For many of our artists, this will be the first time they have presented work for an exhibition since the Covid era.

“We are aware of the ongoing pressures the current situation has created for the north west’s creative communities and we really wanted to do something about it.”

Following an open call for entries in October, 20 artists with less than five years’ experience in the creative industries were chosen to exhibit work and they are also being paid for their participation.

Mollie Balshaw, Director of Short Supply, added: “Slap-Bang is a show that responds to an ever-changing creative climate in the north – one that acknowledges and embraces the increasing unsustainability of creativity in city centres.

“A sustainable creative future for all regions of the north west is of paramount importance to us at Short Supply, and it starts by taking steps to ensure artists living and working anywhere can thrive, not just survive.

“Warrington is a town slap-bang between two major cities of culture, with an exciting and valuable creative offer of its own – we’re very proud to be presenting this showcase of 20 incredibly talented and driven north west based artists right here.

“It’s a show we strongly feel could not be as impactful anywhere else. We want to thank Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival for having us, and for continuing their vital work prioritising and championing regional artists”

Leah added: “These often unsung artists have all created outstanding and thought-provoking work for Slap-Bang and our hope is that this exhibition provides a springboard for other opportunities for them as we edge back towards normality.”

Slap-Bang is open until Sunday and visitors can just drop in without booking. Between Friday and Sunday the hours are 10am to 4pm.